SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The old saying goes, "don't poke the bear," but what about when it is necessary to keep them healthy?
No matter who you are, going to the dentist can be a grizzly experience, especially if you're a bear, with really bad teeth.
On Monday, one of the black bears at Lions, Tigers and Bears Sanctuary in Alpine had a visit from the dentist.
Fourteen-year-old Maddie had been living in a 20 by 20 double corn crib in Ohio most of her life. She spent a lot of her time biting the cage, tearing up her mouth.
Maddie, now at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine, has been receiving the proper nutrition and health care she deserves. On Monday, that meant an appointment with the dentist.
Maddie had a complicate root fracture that was bleeding, according to Dr. Robert Furman.
"You know, that's our promise to the animals here, preventative care, take care of them, to let them live out their life in dignity. We do the best we can to make them comfortable," said Bobbi Brink.
With Maddie knocked out, Dr. Robert Furman went through her mouth, and found several teeth missing, others in really bad shape.
"She actually had four broken canines. So all her canines are broken in there and they are infected, packed with dirt. Even though she is not showing it, they are causing her pain," said Dr. Furman.
While Maddie was under the anesthesia, Dr. Furman worked on her mouth giving it a good cleaning, and gave her four very necessary root canals.
"You have almost a bacterial super highway. Bacteria is going from the mouth directly into the blood stream, and what we want to do is be able to stop that and still keep the teeth," said Dr. Furman.
The whole procedure took a good two hours, but Maddie will be much better off in a the long run.
"You're getting rid of the nerves, the blood vessels. There's no longer a source of pain and infection, so we sealed up the canals and infection cannot get in there," said Dr. Furman.
The procedure took place at Lions, Tigers and Bears, so when Maddie wakes up, she will already be home.
Maddie was not the only one with a date with the dentist. Natasha, the sanctuary's matriarch tiger also had a root canal.