Where the Wild Black Teeth Are

 In General Dentistry

When touring the San Antonio Zoo or SeaWorld San Antonio, maybe you visited some of these wild animals below and saw their dark, huge, or hidden teeth. Each species has different teeth and oral issues that zoo dentists must keep track of, which makes our dentists appreciate that they don’t have to work with wild animal teeth everyday but instead nice human mouths.

Black Teeth

If you have ever seen sea lions squawking at onlookers, you probably noticed their very black teeth and wondered why their teeth were rotting. But unlike humans, whose black teeth means signs of decay and cavities, the stains on sea lions teeth don’t mean their teeth are unhealthy. At first their teeth are white, but they turn black from normal and healthy bacteria, which also gives them black saliva.

Huge Teeth

Elephants have some of the biggest teeth in the animal kingdom. Their teeth are unique because unlike our teeth that come in from top to bottom, elephants’ teeth are developed from the back and come forward. They have six sets of molars throughout their life. The main cause of death for elephants is the loss of teeth because as the last molar breaks down it is hard for the elephant to eat food, so they can starve to death or die of malnutrition.

Non-Chewing Teeth

Bottlenose dolphins do not have baby teeth and all their permanent teeth have the same form and function. They have 72 to 104 non-replaceable teeth. Their teeth are conical and interlocking, and are designed for grabbing, but not chewing food. They usually swallow the fish whole with the head first, so the spine doesn’t get stuck in the throat. With larger fish they shake them or rub them on the ocean floor to break them.

No Front Teeth

Giraffes’ 32 grinding teeth are very far from the front part of their skull, and instead of having front teeth they have a bony ridge. That is why at many places, like the San Antonio Zoo, families can feed giraffes and not worry about getting bitten.  They also have a blackish tongue that is 18 inches long and helps them pluck leaves off trees.

Zoo dentists have to maintain these zoo animals’ teeth, but thankfully you don’t need a dentist to brush your teeth and floss for you. But make sure you do stop in to see your San Antonio dentist for a check-up or if you have any questions or concerns.

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