Bai Yun the panda has dental surgery at San Diego Zoo

For bamboo-eating panda, a bad tooth is bad news -- Bai Yun's gets fixed at the San Diego Zoo

Bai Yun, the female giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, underwent a dental procedure Wednesday to fix a chipped tooth that could have impaired her ability to eat bamboo, her favorite food.

The 23-year-old panda was given anesthesia so that a veterinary team could repair the chipped tooth, a lower canine. A dental composite was then used to fill the damaged tooth.

Bai Yun's teeth were then cleaned and a few more X-rays were taken.

A bad tooth can be hard on any animal. But pandas are particularly vulnerable to damaged or worn down teeth.

The problem is that bamboo is chewy and not particularly nutritious. To get enough nutrition, giant pandas need to eat a lot of bamboo and they spend a lot of time chewing and breaking it apart.

Bai Yun has been known to spend up to 12 hours a day dining on bamboo.

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