Think your dental visit is a big hairy deal? After fracturing an upper canine tooth, called a carnassial tooth, this grizzly bear star has a new smile. Dr. Clark Hicken DDS, owner of Main Plaza Dental from Spanish Fork, traveled to All West Veterinary Hospital in Bozeman, Montana to perform a root canal and restore the broken tooth. Dr. Dan Butterfield was in charge of keeping the 885 pound grizzly under anesthesia during the procedure. Adam, an 8 year old grizzly bear, has had appearances in many commercial and lm industry projects. In addition to being featured in many wildlife photographs. He was raised from a cub and works with his trainer Troy Hyde, from Animals of Montana. e veterinary team was faced with a few challenges while operating on the large grizzly bear. Adult bears cannot be anesthetized for more than two to three hours, meaning that the entire procedure needed to be competed in that period of time. Since extracting such a large tooth is di cult and the bear needs the carnassial tooth to be able to bite, a root canal was performed, post placed, and a tooth restored to function in a single visit. In addition, as a highly photographed bear, esthetics is also important. “Anesthesia is very stressful for large animals. is was unavoidable for the root canal treatment, but we did not want to put Adam though it a second time to t the crown,” says Dr. Hicken, who lead the operation. Adam recovered from the operation quickly without any complications and is now back to his old self. Dr. Clark Hicken said the dental process was not so di erent from a human condition, just on a large scale. is canine tooth in a large adult grizzly bear is four inches in length with only one and a half inches being exposed. He had several instruments custom made for the procedure and even took along his Cerec crown milling machine that fabricates same day crowns. e tooth also had to be custom colored to match the golden shades of Adam’s other teeth. A er treatment was successfully completed, all those involved were clearly relieved. “It was a fascinating procedure and I am thrilled with the outcome,” grinned Dr. Hicken.
Dr. Hicken performing a root canal on a bear, in Montana. The length of the tooth is four inches with 1.5 inches visible.