First Colorado Dentist to be American Dental Association President-Elect

Becky O'GuinFeatured News

The ADA membership’s voice was loud and clear when it voted for Dr. Brett Kessler to become its next president-elect. The election took place at the ADA House of Delegates meeting in Orlando, FL on Oct. 10. Dr. Kessler is a Denver dentist and past-president of the CDA. He campaigned for change—creating an ADA where every dentist thrives and the ADA stands true to its “why” of making people healthy. Dr. Kessler has been an active

Dr. Brett Kessler

volunteer leader and member of the CDA for 26 years. Since 2019, Dr. Kessler has represented the 14th District on the ADA Board of Trustees, and chaired several ADA committees. Learn more about Dr. Kessler at

In his speech at the ADA House of Delegates, Dr. Kessler spoke of his rocky past and the road forward. His platform focused on three critical items: advocacy, a dental community of respect and acceptance, and wellness. Here are some excerpts from his speech.

“I delivered a denture to a young lady named Brittany. As I handed her the mirror so she could see herself for the first time, I could see tears welling up in her eyes. You see Brittany was a recovering methamphetamine addict and she had been sober for several years. She expressed to me right then and there that for the first time in her life she felt whole again, and the scars of her addiction were erased from her face. This is why I went into dentistry. I feel that this is why we all went into dentistry—to positively impact our patients through the work we do.”

“I am so fortunate to have had so many of these experiences over the years in my practice. I have been an owner in a scratch-start fee-for-service private practice. I have been an employee dentist in a PPO heavy small group practice. And I have been an educator guiding and mentoring our young colleagues. This is why I LOVE being a dentist!

“My path has not always been so smooth. Early in my career I hit bottom, not sure if I wanted to live let alone stay in dentistry. I made a call to the Michigan Dental Association and I asked for help. I credit that phone call to the beginning of my recovery, and I credit that phone call to what ultimately saved my life. The resources that the ADA had available saved my life!

“As I got better, I found that I could be a catalyst for positive change in the world. I do it through my dentistry, I do it through my recovery, and I do it through my leadership. Everywhere I have served, I have encouraged others and together we have grown. I live a courageous life filled with courageous acts.

“The ADA has had an amazing level of success over the years and as a result we are the voice of the profession. I’m really proud of that. But our membership trends are trending down toward 50%, and it is getting more and more difficult for us to fulfill our mission—no members, no mission. We need to be bold; we need to be courageous now. Imagine an ADA that is true to its core values, true to its mission and true to its vision. As president, my most important charge is to make sure everything we do is aligned with these. Imagine an ADA where every dentist feels supported no matter what their background is and how they choose to practice. Imagine an ADA where we live true to our “why” — we make people healthy. In order to do that we need to redesign the current dental benefit models and we’ve had a great start with MLR reforms starting in Massachusetts, and it’s spreading across the country. Imagine an ADA where every dentist feels supported! Imagine an ADA where you can thrive!

I invite you to come sit with the changemakers!”