Watch: How Do You Help An Elephant With a Toothache?

Experts come together to provide dental care for an Asian elephant

How Do You Help An Elephant With a Toothache?

When female Asian elephant Swarna joined our herd in May 2014, her routine tooth exams showed an unusual shape and wear pattern on her teeth. Recently, the 46-year-old elephant appeared to have difficulty chewing her food properly.

The elephant care team decided surgery was the best option for alleviating her ailment. Through comprehensive training, they acclimated Swarna to the steps of the procedure. This built her trust and confidence and helped minimize the stress she may have experienced.

Elephant dentistry specialists from the Colyer Institute joined the Zoo’s team to remove the culprit tooth. Since her surgery, Swarna has put on weight — a clear sign the elephantine-sized efforts were a success. Visit Swarna and our Asian elephant herd at Elephant Trails!

Aging elephants in zoos are challenged with geriatric issues. Sharing information about diseases and treatment options with other zoos is beneficial for the population in human care as a whole. Our commitment to the care and study of Asian elephants at the Zoo is part of a larger conservation program to protect Asian elephants in their native habitat.