Taipei’s Tuan Tuan has become the first panda in the world to get a dental brace

Taipei Zoo engaged multiple medical professionals to perform a dental procedure on giant panda Tuan Tuan.
Facebook / Taipei Zoo

Yes, animals need orthodontic braces too – and Taipei Zoo’s Tuan Tuan is the first giant panda in the world to sport one.

Tuan Tuan is wearing an orthodontic brace.
Facebook / Taipei Zoo

On Dec 9, the 14-year-old giant panda’s upper left canine tooth was found to be damaged and bleeding, said Taipei Zoo in a Facebook post on Monday (Dec 24).

Tuan Tuan’s upper left canine tooth was damaged and bleeding.
Facebook / Taipei Zoo

After the discovery of Tuan Tuan’s damaged tooth, a team of veterinarians, dentists and anaesthetists swooped in on Dec 12 to conduct an emergency examination and treatment on the panda.

Medical professionals made a mould of Tuan Tuan’s tooth and planned to install a titanium brace to repair it.
Facebook / Taipei Zoo

The medical team discovered that the giant panda’s upper left canine had cracked and the tooth pulp was exposed, leaving the panda at risk of tooth infections.

Root canal treatment was then carried out and a mould of his tooth was made to facilitate brace installation.

Tuan Tuan officially underwent surgery on Dec 23 to repair his upper left canine tooth, and had a titanium brace fixed.

There’s a good reason for using titanium, and it’s got to do with a typical giant panda’s diet. Not only is titanium non-toxic, it’s strong enough to withstand wear and tear as giant pandas typically chew on hard bamboo stems with their canine teeth

The titanium brace will allow Tuan Tuan’s tooth to heal and prevent him from damaging it again, the zoo said.

Braces are not new on animals of course. In September, a snake in Australia named Toothless was given braces to fix its overbite, Business Insider reported.

The giant panda was a gift to Taiwan from mainland China in 2008, alongside his partner Yuan Yuan. The pair celebrated their 14th birthday in August this year.

Read also: These incredible photos show a cancer-stricken bird getting a 3D-printed prosthetic casque in Singapore