It’s not just humans that need some help with their dental health; sometimes the largest land mammals can develop tooth problems and need to see the dentist. An Asian dentist at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo has had one of his enormous molars removed after developing toothache and a dental infection.
33-year-old Lucha was displaying a reduced appetite that caused her keepers some concern and when they looked inside her mouth they could see that the tooth had become infected. The head veterinarian, Nic Masters, surmised that an extraction would probably be needed and brought in Dr Peter Kertesz to carry out the treatment. He described the surgery, which was similar to that with a human tooth but obviously on a much larger scale. Nic said that, with Lucha fast asleep, the dentist managed to rock the tooth until it broke free, then extracted it completely.
Since the dental operation, Lucha has been recovering well, her appetite is back and she has been gaining weight as well, now that she is not plagued with toothache. Lucha is one of ten Asian elephants at the zoo and they are housed as part of the European Endangered Species Programme.