Moment a brave dentist performed a root canal on a tiger
This footage shows the moment a brave dentist performed a root canal on a tiger at Paignton Zoo in Devon.
Credit: Paington Zoo (c) For more information contact me!
A roaring success! Brave dentist performs root canal procedure on a TIGER at Devon zoo
Sumatran tiger Fabi fractured his lower canine teeth at Paignton Zoo in Devon
11-year-old big cat required emergency root canal surgery by veterinary dentist
Procedure took two-and-a-half hours and successfully repaired the damage
Dentist Matthew Oxford bravely led the operation alongside huge support team
A brave dentist took on one of his toughest ever procedures after being called to perform a root canal operation on a tiger.
Sumatran tiger Fabi fractured his 3.15in lower canine teeth at his home in Paignton Zoo, Devon, requiring emergency surgery after he began to develop abscesses.
The 11-year-old big cat, who weighs more than 220lbs, has 30 teeth including the very long canines.
But veterinary dentist Matthew Oxford managed to fix the beast's teeth after a two-and-a-half hour procedure using his own specialist surgical kit and hand-held radiography equipment.
Jo Reynard, a vet at the zoo, said: 'Life in the Paignton Zoo veterinary department is always interesting, but a bilateral tiger root canal treatment is a challenging procedure.
'The fact it went so incredibly smoothly reflects the great team spirit among vets, keepers, curatorial staff and outside experts.'
Root canal treatment is needed when teeth are fractured, exposing the soft and sensitive tissue in the middle known as pulp.
A dentist will then remove the bacteria and pulp from the chamber in the centre of the tooth before adding a filling.
Vets and keepers created a makeshift operating theatre in the largest tiger den the day before the procedure, making a table out of hay bales and tarpaulin.
Mr Oxford was accompanied by three other vets, three vet nurses, two big cat keepers and senior animal staff - including one armed with a shotgun as part of safety protocols.
Ms Reynard administered anaesthetic to Fabi through the steel mesh of the den wall, with the calm tiger lying down for the injection.
He then received similar care to human patients including a breathing tube to deliver anaesthetic gas and carefully-administered fluids and pain relief.
Fabi was kept warm throughout the procedure by an electric blanket and a duvet, with his paws were covered in bubble wrap to ensure they did not become cold.
Mr Oxford took x-rays and found Fabi's lower canine teeth were fractured, the pulp had died and tooth root abscesses had started to develop.
His canines measured 3.1in from crown to root. Human teeth are usually between 0.7-1in, with the largest domestic dog teeth about 1.5-1.7in long.
The root canal procedure removed the bacteria and pulp from the chamber in the centre of the tooth and filled it with inert material.
After the procedure was completed, Fabi was carried to his pen where he was sitting up within about 15 minutes.
He received one-on-one observation during his recovery and seemed back to normal by the following day.
Nic Dunn, curator of mammals at the zoo, said: 'Fabi is getting on now and it is not uncommon to see signs of wear and tear in an older cat.
'For tigers, the teeth and claws are very important pieces of equipment and so we need to make sure they are well looked after.
'While Matthew was performing the dental work it also gave us the chance to give Fabi a full health check and we were pleased to see that he was in great health.'
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