By Garrett HemmerichWEST MILFORD – Dentistry has been going through some changes recently, yet Dr. Peter Brusco, DMD, has continued to find ways to adapt and evolve.“People just don’t have the dental problems that they did 20 years ago,” Dr. Brusco said. In addition to changes in dental insurance, according to Brusco, the prevention of dental decay and gum disease has gotten much better, yet that hasn’t changed his office’s mission.”Our mission is to wipe out tooth decay and gum disease in northern New Jersey,” said Brusco. “It’s an uphill battle.”One of the ways that Brusco and his team have adapted to some of the recent changes in dentistry, so that they can keep fighting that battle, has been to put a larger focus on individual attention.”(By) really taking the time to explain things, treatments that (patients) need, and answering any question,” Brusco said. “Just spending more personal time with patients.”That kind of attention, however, requires a good team, which Brusco says he’s lucky enough to have.”We’ve been together for a long time,” he said. ”Everyone here has over 15-20 years of experience, and we’re all trained in good communication skills.”That’s very important because Dr. Brusco said he still sees fear as one of the main reasons people stay away from the dentist.“We’re highly trained in dealing with phobic people,” he said. “We explain a lot, and it’s a very soothing type of explanation. I call it vocal anesthesia.”Effective communication also helps to develop some trust between dentist and patient, which can only really come with time, according to Brusco. “Patients become like family after a while,” he said. “So there’s an understanding, there’s trust, and they know we really want to help them.” Another way Brusco, a general dentist, has continued to evolve has been to take courses for more specialized procedures, including placing surgical implants.”Patients like it because they don’t have to go somewhere to get something done,” said Brusco. “It’s (done) right in house.” In addition to these specialized procedures and the usual fillings, dentures, etc., the office also has an active hygiene practice and Brusco has done root canals since day one. A graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Dental in 1980, Dr. Brusco has been practicing in Kinnelon since 1983, but that’s far from the only dental work he’s done.Brusco was also an attending dentist at St Joseph’s in Paterson from 2001-2004, where he mentored the dental residents.He also spent time as the attending dentist at the VA home in Paramus, in addition to doing work at the McGuire Air Force Base and Fort Dix, where he checked and treated soldiers who were being shipped out.“I considered it a privilege to work for the U.S. Army,” Brusco said.Brusco has done plenty for the community as well, including sponsoring local baseball teams, working with mentally challenged adults, donating to local foundations and outreach centers, and speaking at plenty of high school career days over the years.He has also been very involved with the Autumn Lights Festival in years past.“It’s a great community,” said Brusco. “It’s a diverse population.”Dr. Brusco’s office, which also offers in-house financing, is located in suite 29A at 170 Kinnelon Road in Kinnelon.