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 HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Modern dentistry has come

a long way in treating and preventing oral disorders.
 Thanks to the great leaps in both technology and education and a greater focus on preventive measures, Americans today have healthier teeth than ever before. This year, the Pennsylvania Dental Association will highlight new dental options during Adult Dental Awareness Week, Sept. 13-19.
 This new era of dental health has brought with it many new options for patients. For those who choose to, improving a smile can be a relatively uncomplicated experience, often with little or no tooth loss at all.
 Many imperfections, such as chips, cracks and fractures, can now be repaired through a one-visit procedure called bonding. A combination of liquid acrylic and hardened glass called composite resins, or bonding, allows dentists to paint, sculpt and seal areas that, not very long ago, would have required a crown. The bonding material can be mixed to match existing tooth color and polished to a natural luster.
 One of the newest, most natural-looking cosmetic options is porcelain veneers. These small, thin, custom-made shells are applied directly over the existing tooth. The materials used in the veneering process include acrylic, composite resins and porcelain. Veneers are most often used to cover permanent stains and poorly shaped teeth. Having a tooth veneered is a simple, painless procedure requiring just two or three office visits. Because a very thin portion of the tooth must be removed to accommodate the thickness of the veneer shell, this procedure is usually irreversible.
 Another new arrival in the cosmetic dental arena is a procedure called enamel contouring. This procedure, usually combined in part with bonding, allows the dentist to subtly change the shape of a tooth by carefully removing or reshaping the tooth to the desired form. Bonding is often used in conjunction with enamel shaping to help achieve the most natural and durable outcome.
 Some people, however, only desire a brighter smile. An in-office whitening technique called bleaching can lighten tooth color either subtly or more dramatically, depending on the patient's desire. During this procedure, the patient's gums, tongue and cheeks are protected by a rubber dam, while the dentist brushes a bleaching solution on the teeth. Afterward, a special light is directed to activate the solution. While each treatment will subtly lighten the teeth, the patient may require anywhere from three to eight visits to reach the desired outcome.
 To learn more about cosmetic dental treatments, the Pennsylvania Dental Association advises patients to talk frankly with their dentist about options, expectations and costs. Communication, it stresses, is one of the most important aspects of achieving a beautiful smile.
 -0- 9/11/92
 /CONTACT: Kim Wilkinson, public relations coordinator of the Pennsylvania Dental Association, 717-234-5941/ CO: Pennsylvania Dental Association ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

MK-LJ -- PH004 -- 8348 09/11/92 09:23 EDT
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Date:Sep 11, 1992

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