14 Branford Review| | Wednesday, January 27, 1993

Orthodontist's "magic" keeps patients interest

"It's magic," said Dr. Peter Russo, a local Orthodontist, when young patients ask. "How do teeth move?"

Dr. Russo takes delight in using a magic coloring book as one of his props - fanning the book of blank pages, magically, pictures appear - fanning the book again, and the pictures are all colored in - just like magic.

Another way for the personable Dr. Russo to make his patients feel at ease is to ask them, "What did you learn in school today?" "I think it is more important to take an interest in more than their teeth," said Russo. "I'm treating the whole person."

"I have a lot of fun with the kids," he continued. "It always fascinates me to watch their personalities change, as I create their new smiles."

Russo's interest in the dentistry profession developed as a family matter. His dad is a dentist, as is his brother and sister.

"I grew up in Milford and have fond memories of living in a shoreline town - I wanted to practice in a similar town like Branford - there's such a sense of community - with its
churches on the green."

Like magic, he transformed the first floor of an old Colonial home into a light-filled, attractive office, using his background in carpentry and painting, as well as his artistic eye for what is aesthetically pleasing and yet functional.

Russo and his brother earned money for their education by doing painting and simple carpentry during the summers while attending dental school. They also renovated a house in a depressed area of Philadelphia and lived there while attending the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

The Russo crew built stone walls, planted flowers, and painted and repaired the dilapidated house. And, like magic, the neighborhood began to improve - other properties were renovated. After completion of their dental training, the house was sold at a handsome profit.

Russo continues to build stone walls, plant flowers in his garden, and draw in pen and ink - a talent he began to develop when he was about six years old. His office is filled with his pen and ink sketches and his photography of water-related scenes including stones and rocks found on a European beach.

"Actually, my real passion is fishing," he admitted.