How do you fix a pandas tooth? Very carefully Meg Sutherland Smith, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo, uses a light to seal a dental composite during a restorative dental procedure on giant panda Bai Yun at the San Diego Zoo (AP photos)
How do you fix a pandas tooth? Very carefully
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The San Diego Zoo's giant female panda has been known to chew on bamboo up to 12 hours a day. So when Bai Yun chipped a lower tooth, veterinarians had to fix it.

The 23-year-old panda went to the dentist Wednesday. She got a shot to make her numb and got the chip repaired, a cleaning and X-rays.

The Los Angeles Times reports a dental composite was used to fill the damaged tooth.

Bamboo is chewy but to get enough nutrition out of it, a panda has to break it apart and chew a lot. So having healthy teeth is important, especially since it's the panda's favorite food.

In addition, a bad tooth can be hard on any animal. But giant pandas are particularly vulnerable to damaged or worn down teeth. To get enough nutrition, giant pandas need to eat a lot of bamboo. Then they spend a lot of time chewing and breaking it apart.

Bai Yun has been known to spend up to 12 hours a day dining on bamboo.

Only 1,600 giant pandas are believed to exist in the wild. The species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. A group called San Diego Zoo Global, in conjunction with Chinese panda experts, continues to work on science-based panda conservation programs.

The San Diego Zoos giant pandas are on a research loan from the Peoples Republic of China, according to the zoo website.

As part of this long-term program, the zoo is collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science. The research is on behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.

Critical thinking challenge: Bai Yun had a chipped tooth. Why did veterinarians clean her teeth?

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COMMENTS (159)
  • 9amys
    9/16/2014 - 11:22 a.m.

    Who:a giant panda
    What:chipped a rooth and veterinarians need ro fix it
    when: september 15 2014
    where: sandiagos zoo
    Why: When pandas chew bamboo they need to chew it very thoroughly to get all of the nutrients.

  • dylan959
    9/16/2014 - 11:39 a.m.

    Caulse it needs very hard teeth to break the super hard bamboo and it cant do that with a break teeth it would hurt it

  • JacobWYellow
    9/16/2014 - 12:00 p.m.

    That poor panda! I would hate for that to happen to me! I'm so glad to see them working on her teeth! Such nice Chinese people.

  • casey325
    9/16/2014 - 12:07 p.m.

    I think it's pretty cool that the panda laid still for the doctors because he could have very easily bit off that vets head. That would be bad, and the panda wouldn't have felt it because they numbed it.

  • icecreamisyummy
    9/16/2014 - 12:51 p.m.

    A panda in San Diego was known to chew bamboo 12 hours a day everyday.This panda ended up chipping one of its lower teeth.A vet had to fix this tooth asap.They numbed the panda with shots and repaired the pandas chipped tooth.Living healthy is tough for pandas. It takes a lot of force to get it open and there is just not enough nutritian in them.

  • robinbra000
    9/16/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    One of my brothers friends loves pandas. I think it would be very sad if the pandas went extinct I like pandas I would hate it if they were extinct.

  • AC2001curly
    9/16/2014 - 01:05 p.m.

    They had to clean the pandas teeth because the article said pandas also need to have healthy teeth. I think that it must've really hurt when their teeth break.

  • jordene115
    9/16/2014 - 01:41 p.m.

    The reason the veterinarians cleaned the panda's tooth was because a bad tooth can be harmful to any animal especially a panda because they spend hours dining on bamboo.

  • Kiaraw-OBr
    9/16/2014 - 01:44 p.m.

    I know why the panda chipped her tooth. She chews on the bamboo a lot, because that's what pandas do for nutrition. She chews on the bamboo for 12 hours. It is important to keep her teeth clean because the bamboo requires strong teeth. If her teeth rotted and fell out, she couldn't eat her favorite food. She is lucky to have her teeth and a caring vet to fix them.

  • 21Olivia-May
    9/16/2014 - 02:22 p.m.

    Awwwe that is so nice that the veternairians would do that for that poor little panda . And to think there is only 1,600 pandas that live in the wild.

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