ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (AP) - An Anchorage endodontist performed a root canal on a big tooth in a very big patient _ a full-grown Siberian tiger.
“It’s the longest tooth I’ve ever worked on,” Luiten said of more than three-inch (8 centimeter) canine.
The zoo had to order some special instruments to accommodate the longer tooth, and even had to modify those during the root canal.
“He was a good boy, he handled things well,” Brunson said.
“It couldn’t have gone any better today, it was perfect,” said Dr. Riley Wilson, the zoo’s veterinarian.
The root canal was necessary after Kunali fractured the tooth 4 or 5 years ago, likely when he hit a metal post.
“They’re not chewing on things that break their teeth easily, but they’re wrestling around,” Wilson said. “It takes some trauma to chip that big of a tooth.”
Root canals for animals are somewhat common, with previous procedures performed at the zoo on a polar bear, the zoo’s other tiger, a wolverine, a wolf and two on a snow leopard.
But this was the first procedure in a recently opened operating room and the first for the zoo’s new veterinary table, complete with hydraulic lift and fold-out leafs to accommodate limbs and tails.
Before the new operating room opened, procedures were conducted inside the animal’s exhibits. “We were on our knees in dens,” Lampi said.
Going to the animal’s habitat was more of a challenge, Wilson said, because there was poor lighting, not enough room for everyone who needed to be involved and it was much colder.View Entire Story
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