Dental specialist visits VBRC to treat resident bears

14 November 2019

Two weeks ago the bears at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC) received a visit from Veterinary Dental Specialist Dr Cedric Tutt. 12 bears had dental health checks over four days; a mammoth task as usually only around a dozen bears would be seen for health checks in a whole month!

Our lovely Oscar had his previous 2 root canal treatments checked. One was slightly chipped which was easily repaired. He also had a small ulcer on the inside of his cheek due to a sharp edge on the adjacent tooth, this was smoothed out to prevent further irritation.

Big, handsome Jonathan loves to play rough with his friends in the sanctuary and he had managed to damage some of Cedric’s previous good work. The filling part of one of his root canals had to be replaced. The ongoing damage is made worse by poor enamel development as a cub due to poor nutrition, along with severe bar biting tooth damage caused by the stress of a decade kept in a cage on a farm. His recovery from anaesthetic was smooth and he was back with his friends the next day, hopefully playing a bit more gently. 

V190 Anh Sang full dental exam by Dr Cedric Tutt (5)


Anh Sang was brought to the hospital to check on the fractured jaw that had been fixed last year by placing two plates to hold it together. Two of the screws holding the plate had begun to protrude and damage her tongue. This can happen when such a thin lining of tissue covers such a thick jaw bone. Fortunately after performing an x-ray to assess the jaw and finding that it had healed really well, Cedric was able to surgically remove the two screws. Anh Sang took a long nap in the recovery house and was given pain relief to help with any resulting jaw ache. Because the procedure was minimal, she was soon brought back to her house to join her friends without needing much more den rest.

Three of the #FiveAlive bears rescued in September last year were due for a checkup with Dr. Tutt. . Mekong had two molars extracted and two canines had root canals. Cedric checked on Newtie’s three root canals he had performed last year, which thankfully are all still doing well. Just one needed the surface replaced due to a little too much rough play.

Some of LeBON’s incisors needed extraction. His three earlier root canals are all holding up perfectly and Dr. Tutt was able to convert a temporary root canal into a permanent one. Performing these root canals saves LeBON and the other bears from needing major dental surgery to extract the tooth. However, a veterinary root canal is a specialist procedure and the size of the teeth means that specialised equipment that isn’t common in regular veterinary or human dentistry practices is required. We are so lucky to have Dr. Tutt performing these procedures on our bears, as much of this equipment is designed specially for this purpose. In fact, Dr. Tutt actually works closely with manufacturers to help properly design the tools to achieve the best results. LeBON was happily eating the same day and then back with his friends the next day.

Bears weren’t the only ones to be seen by Cedric. Cats Freddie and Gilbert are two 10 year old brothers. They live on the sanctuary grounds and they also both received root canal therapy to repair fractured canines. 

Freddie, full dental exam

Snow, Phoenix, Helios, Bibi, Cranberry and Little Jane were Cedric’s other bear patients who received a variety of treatments including extractions, root canals, fillings and widening the gaps between teeth to stop pieces of food from getting stuck.

V205 Phoenix dental chartingg (3)V012 LIttle Jane photographing teeth

These dental health checks provided a great opportunity for our Vietnamese Veterinary Intern Hai Kim Lam to learn new techniques, including how to remove diseased incisor and molar teeth.

All of Cedric’s patients are making great recoveries and we’re eternally grateful to him for his incredible skill and expertise, his willingness to help, and his absolute heart of gold responsible for all the beautiful smiles he’s put on the faces around the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre.

Dr Cedric Tutt teaches Vietnamese Veterinary Intern Hai Kim Lam techniques for removing incisor teeth of moon bear BibiTeam photos (4)