Seeing as it’s Friday, we’ve got some slightly offbeat dental news for you…
Tina, an Asian elephant at Belfast Zoo, has undergone dental surgery, and is now recovering.
After zookeepers noticed Tina seemed to be experiencing some discomfort, they informed the zoo’s vet, Michael Griffith.
He found that one of the elephant’s tushes had broken and was digging into her gum, leading to an infection (tushes are short second incisors – the female equivalent of tusks).
Elephants have a set of 24 molars, with a new set emerging 6 times throughout their lifetime. Elephants tend to live for between 50 and 70 years, and, at 46, Tina is already on her 6th set of teeth. This meant it was even more important that she received dental treatment.
The surgery was performed by Peter Kertesz. Although Peter treats human patients at his London practice, he has also worked on various exotic creatures such as whales and pandas in the past. He explained:
“We had to file off the sharp areas of Tina’s tooth. Her surgery went very smoothly, thanks to the work of everyone involved and she is well on her way to recovery. I feel extremely privileged that I can make a difference to the health and life of rare and endangered animals, such as Tina.”
We wish Tina a speedy recovery!