A chipped tooth can be extremely painful, and if it is severe, can be a dental emergency. Burlingame Dental Arts, your Southwest Portland dental office of choice, occasionally sees patients with chipped teeth from accidents or sports injuries (to learn more about Burlingame Dental Arts and our dental emergency help, click here) but we’ve never seen anyone chip a tooth from eating… pounds and pounds of bamboo…
… then again, we’ve never treated a panda!
Last week Bai Yun, a giant female panda at the San Diego Zoo, chipped her tooth, probably from eating more bamboo than you can shake a (bamboo) stick (sorry!) at. Bai Yun regularly eats bamboo for up to 12 hours a day, an impressive work week.
To fix the panda’s tooth, veterinarians did just what human dentists do: sealing the tooth with dental composite and using a laser to harden it. Unlike humans, Bai Yun was heavily sedated, and while in this agreeable state, also received a teeth cleaning and an X-ray set.
For a panda, a chipped tooth is not only a dental emergency, but a life-threatening one!
Bamboo, a plant that is extremely fibrous in addition to providing very little nutritive value, is the mainstay of a giant panda’s diet– and its miserly calorie count requires eating a ton of it for pandas to stay healthy and happy. This means a chipped tooth could seriously compromise a panda’s ability to take care of itself. In the wild, Bai Yun may have eventually starved.
Dental care crosses the species divide
Animal dentistry is an important part of veterinary care for zoo animals as well as domestic pets; particularly with the increasing awareness by the scientific community and dental professionals of the affect oral health has on a body’s systemic health. In Portland, where dogs and cats are family, there is an especially thriving community of veterinary specialists who provide small animal dental services.
Burlingame Dental Arts supports oral health for all shapes of mouth
While our dental practice is limited to one animal– homo sapiens– the team at Burlingame Dental Arts loves hearing about the practice of great dentistry for all kinds of species. As we learn more and more about the importance of oral health for our whole bodies, the more apparent it is that great dental care is an integral part of responsible caring for our animal companions.
Do you have an animal companion? Tell us what you do for their dental care at your next appointment with Burlingame Dental Arts.