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Dentist gives cheetah a root canal: 'Be sure not to eat anything real crunchy for a while'

"The instruments that we would use - other than the files that we actually use to clean out the inside of the tooth - are exactly the same as we would use for human dentistry," he said. (SBG)

WINSTON, Ore. (KVAL) — Dr. Ron Tribble is an Oregon dentist who usually works on people.

But on Thursday, he performed a root canal on a 7-year-old cheetah named Mchumba at the Wildlife Safari in Winston.

"The instruments that we would use - other than the files that we actually use to clean out the inside of the tooth - are exactly the same as we would use for human dentistry," he said.

Tribble examined the tooth, identified the type of fracture, and then filled the tooth.

"In captivity, that's why you see a lot of the carnivores live twice as long longevity wise as they do in the wild," said Sarah Roy, carnivore supservisor at Wildlife Safari, "because we're here to spot stuff and treat stuff immediately."

Roy trusts Tribble to treat Mchumba for a special reason. He was her dentist.

And to date, he's done over 70 procedures on animals at the park.

"We just call Dr. Tribble when there's a tooth problem and he just does such a great job," Roy said.

"It's exciting to be able to give back to the community, treat the animals, and I just love the cats," Tribble said.

As for Mchumba's post-op outlook?

"Mr. Cheetah, this is what you do and don't want to do as far as your diet," Tribble said, "and be sure not to eat anything real crunchy for awhile."

The cat's handlers hope to see a speedy recovery for Mchumba.

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