With the strongest bite force of any of the big cats, a tiger’s jaw could snap off an arm in an instant. When zookeepers at Noah's Ark Zoo near Bristol, England detected a chip in their 440-pound tiger’s canine tooth, they called in Dr. Peter Kertesz, an experienced dental surgeon from London and a specialist in zoo dentistry.
We’ve all heard plenty about the Minnesota dentist who created an international uproar after killing a lion while hunting in Zimbabwe. It’s about time for a feel-good story about a dentist who helped a big cat.
Dr. Kertesz and the medical team gave Khan, a male Bengal tiger with 5-inch long canines, a carefully calculated dose of anesthetic to ensure that his powerful jaw remained open, reports BBC News. With the help of his dental nurse, Monika Mazurkiewicz, Dr Kertesz was able to save the cracked tooth by removing the tip and filling the tiger’s root canal.
Tigers have the largest canines of all big cat species, according to SeaWorld. And, if a tiger loses its canines through injury or old age, it can no longer kill and is likely to starve to death, reports OneKind.
In addition to allowing Khan to eat and survive, this dental procedure was important, Dr Kertesz said, because “infections like this can lead to more serious health issues if left untreated” – just like in humans.
For your human patients who need root canals, check out DENTSPLY Tulsa’s family of WaveOne Gold products, which encourages dentists to “surf the canal with confidence.”
Photo provided by BBC News.