The procedure is called a modified pulpotomy (modified in that it is done on killer whales not humans).
2 former trainers J Ventre and J Jett explain the procedure here.
Some of the main points are:
- It is done with NO anesthetic, and it does hurt the whales as they often squeal, shudder and sink into the water.
- It is done with a variable speed drill
- The holes are left open, no one knows whether this is painful but when flushed debris, blood and blood clots often come out.
- The holes need irrigating 3 times a day. To prevent a public relations nightmare over the state of the teeth, Seaworld trainers are told to explain this to the public as 'superior dental care'. If that was the case it wouldn't need doing in the first place.
- Unless some sort of filling is devised all those with drilled teeth would only be allowed into open sea pens not out alone in the ocean due to the need to keep the holes flushed out.
Lolita's teeth are in remarkably good condition as you can see from her picture. She doesn't have the stress of sharing a tank with other incompatible orca, although it is surprising her teeth are so good as she has to deal with the loneliness and the small tank. Her teeth show that this is not the reason for broken and worn teeth.
Kshamenk's teeth are also not in too bad a condition. He has shared the tank with other orca but like Lolita has been alone for a long time. His tiny pool and being alone with just his dolphin friend shows again that isn't the cause of broken, and worn teeth.
Demers also confirmed that Kiska swims around with the pulp of her teeth exposed. She is regularly medicated and will be for the rest of her life. She has also been in the tanks with others, lost all her calves, had fights with Ikaika and now spends her time alone. Her stress levels must have been through the roof.
Whilst still in his teens, Keet's profile says ' Dental work done on 11 teeth and missing part of another.' He became very depressed when his mother was moved away he was 18 months old and he has moved around every park, which probably explains the damage as he will have had to adapt to a new social structure at each park.
|photo credit orca project
|Wild orca no begging marks
|Morgan chewing the tank walls.
|Chomping at walls
|Orkid has to escape onto a slide out
|Bleeding she has no where to go only out of the tank
|Ulises being raked by Kalia
|fights between shows, nowhere to escape to
|attacks on trainers
|Morgan being rammed by Skyla and Kohana
|Kandu V bled to death after ramming Corky
|babies attacked - adan
|Scarring from your pretend pod
|Boredom - Tilikum didn't move for 3 hours
|Gates, isolation and death
|Lack of space and depth
|Urine on command (all parks)
|Against instinct - the only time a whale would intentionally strand itself is if it was sick
|Witnessing deaths (Orkid with Sumar)