12 June 2004

Thai Dentists Perform Elephantine Root Canals

Australia's Herald Sun (12 June 2004) reports on advances in treating elephantine root canals.
VETERINARIANS and dentists in northern Thailand have adapted human root canal techniques to treat elephants suffering from potentially fatal tusk infections, it was reported today.

Doctors at Chiang Mai University developed the technique to mend the infected stumps of tusks sawn off and sold for their ivory by unscrupulous elephant handlers, according to [Thailand's] The Nation newspaper.

Tusk infections could threaten local pachyderm populations, elephant welfare organisations said.

Handlers often fill the severed tusks with soil and bark, which can cause tetanus and lead to death, the newspaper reported, citing research by dentists and veterinarians from several Thai elephant protection organisations.

Veterinarians throughout northern Thailand will be trained to care for elephants using the new technique, which employs the same material used to fill human cavities.
Then they cover the stump with a gold crown?

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