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Potential Animal Orthodontics

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Pacu fish

All fish have different teeth. Some have sharp teeth like sharks, others have no teeth. The Pacu and the Sheepshead fish have teeth like humans. Also the tooth material is no different from human teeth. 

The Pacu fish originates from South America and is mostly vegetarian, so they need teeth like this to be able to crack open the shells of nuts that have fallen in the water from nearby trees. Pacu fish have a double row of teeth on both the top and bottom jaw.

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Sheepshead fish

The Sheepshead fish are native to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast of the United States. They eat a lot of hard-shelled invertebrates and they need these strong teeth to bust and pry loose their prey. They are capable of crushing crabs, clams and oysters. The Sheepshead fish have teeth covering the roof and bottom of their mouth. (Wilson)

Both of these fish get much attention in dentistry and while some fish could use some braces appliances, it could also be useful for testing new methods on them for human purposes. (Rossen)

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Zoos

The reason why humans need braces is that we recently had a huge change in our lifestyle, thus also in our diet. Our ancestors had a diet that required more intense chewing and thus their jaws were able to grow big enough to fit all their teeth. Nowadays we eat soft, cooked, processed food and that’s why teeth fit badly. Animals have not gone through such a drastic change. However zoo diets in most zoos are far from optimal and natural to the specific animal, especially in America. In North American zoos carnivores especially are fed processed feed, whereas in European Zoos they eat carcasses. This is much better, as the teeth require training/exercise and stress to remain in their natural form and in order for the jaws to develop. Extraction of the teeth is usually the fastest and easiest solution, however, where the tooth root is wide and is vital for proper chewing, braces would be a better option for the animal. (Bertelsen)

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