grizzly undergoes root canal
Photo by Jenifer Norwell/CBC

Grizzly bear gets a root canal in B.C.

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It seems we aren’t the only ones that have to go to the dentist.

Staff at the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops were observing Knute, an eight-year-old grizzly bear, when it became clear something wasn’t right. He seemed to be in pain, favouring one side of his mouth during meal times and lifting his lips away from his tooth.

Turns out, he cracked his nine-centimetre long tooth while snacking on something a little too large.

“Honestly, it could have been anything. He’s a playful bear,” animal care supervisor Adrian Clay told CBC. “Anything he can get his mouth around, he will put his mouth around. He’s kinda like a three-year-old.”

With a team of veterinarians and dental experts at the ready, Knute went under general anaesthesia to have his damaged tooth repaired. The team borrowed a rock climbing crash pad from a local gym, which they placed on a large table from the hospital. Knute was laid face-down while the team worked on his root canal.

Without the removal of the infected tooth, Knute may not have survived. According to the medical team, the pain and discomfort would have made eating nearly impossible, hindering his ability to pack on the necessary pounds for hibernation.

With the infected tooth now repaired, the grizzly can keep pushing the boundaries.  Snack on, Knute.