CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A chimpanzee at the Metro Richmond Zoo needed a root canal, so the zoo called a local dental specialist to conduct the procedure.
“Kip” the chimpanzee is a 20-year-old, 165 pound male and zookeepers noticed swelling on the right side of his face. The zoo’s vet team examined Kip’s mouth and discovered his right, upper canine tooth was discolored and determined he needed a root canal.
So, who do you call when a chimpanzee needs a procedure like this?
Look no further than your local endodontist’s office.
The zoo called Dr. Bruce Overton, a local endodontist, to handle the business. Dr. Overton normally specializes in root canals for people, but he also has the experience and the equipment to work on animal canine teeth.
Dr. Overton has volunteered his services at the zoo before, even performing root canals on a lion, snow leopard and two bears throughout the years.
Step One: Anesthesia
On the afternoon of the procedure, Kip was sedated and transported to the zoo’s animal hospital where the root canal procedure was scheduled.
Veterinarians with the zoo, Dr. Cheryl Antonucci and Dr. Kylie Cameron, assisted by Emma Enea, the zoo’s vet tech, administered anesthesia and monitored Kip’s vitals during the procedure.
Step Two: Getting down to business
Dr. Overton and his assistant, Theresa Faw, conducted the root canal on the chimpanzee.
A small opening was drilled into the tooth and infected pulp was removed from the area.
The interior was cleaned, filled and then sealed by the doctors.
Step Three: Recovery
After the procedure was completed, Kip was transported back to the ape habitat at the zoo.
He recovered from anesthesia in a private and comfortable area before being taken back to the chimpanzee troop.
His tooth is no longer causing him pain, according to the zoo, and he is enjoying life with his group.
“Kip was a wonderful patient and the root canal was a great success,” Director of the Metro Richmond Zoo said. “The zoo is grateful to Dr. Overton and all medical professionals who are willing to assist the zoo with specialized operations.”