A dreaded trip to the dentist isn’t limited to the human race, a giant panda discovered Wednesday.
The San Diego Zoo’s Bai Yun has apparently been eating some tough bamboo, for keepers recently noticed a chip in one of her lower canines.
After a dental exam and x-rays, the veterinary team anesthetized the panda to repair the tooth.
They used a big dental composite to fill in the chip and cured it with a light to seal the filling. The vets also performed a restorative procedure to cover the chipped part and prevent further damage.
“The good news is the pulp canal hadn't been compromised, but it's very close to breaking into the pulp canal," said Meg Sutherland-Smith, associate director of the zoo’s veterinary services.
They topped the procedure off with a good, thorough cleaning and imaging.
Zoo officials explain that as pandas chew and break the bamboo with their mouths, their teeth get worn down over time. Many of these giant bears can spend up to 12 hours a day eating the rough plant.
After 23 years of chewing, Bai Yun’s teeth were due for some work.
All the giant pandas – one of the most popular attractions at the San Diego Zoo – are on loan from China. San Diego keepers work with the Chinese Academy of Science to study behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas.