What happens when a gorilla sees the dentist? This is as close as you’ll want to get

Carli Teproff
·1 min read

Getting teeth pulled is never fun.

But it takes more than a needle and numbness to work on a lion. Or a gorilla. Even an otter. We’re talking sleepy time here for the safety of everyone.

This week, several animals at Zoo Miami had dental exams as part of their overall health screenings. Animals including a 27-year-old gorilla, a 26-year-old chimpanzee named Hondo and a 10-year-old lion named Kashifa had to have teeth extracted.

“Dental health is a key component of the Animal Health Department’s preventative medicine program at Zoo Miami,” said Ron Magill in a statement. “A variety of issues ranging from gum disease to broken teeth can lead to critical care issues that may result in serious infection and even death without treatment.”

Magill said that since animals “don’t complain” about dental issues, dental disease is generally referred to as “silent suffering.”

Over the past week, veterinary dentist Dr. Jamie Berning from Midwest Mobile Veterinary Dentistry, along with her veterinary technician, Jill A. Bates, came from Ohio to work on the Zoo Miami animals, which also included a tapir and an aardvark.

And, yes, they were all put under before the work commenced.

Now that their teeth are all nice and tingly clean, they have returned to their regular zoo habitats.