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Sea urchins get dental checkup at the North Carolina Aquarium

MANTEO, N.C. – Everyone needs to visit the dentist every now and then.

Pencil sea urchins at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island were recently visited by their very own veterinary team.

The reason for the visit was for dental checkups, the aquarium said.

Sea urchins have a unique jaw apparatus called Aristotle’s lantern, which includes five teeth that continually grow throughout the animal’s life.

According to the aquarium, in the wild one way urchins trim these teeth is by scraping food from rocks and reefs.

In the Aquarium environment, there are fewer opportunities for sea urchins to dull their teeth this way.

With the help of a dremel, veterinarian Dr. Emily Christiansen was able to trim and reshape the teeth of these invertebrates, the aquarium said.

This process is important to the continued health and welfare of the urchins, ensuring they are able to eat properly.

Radiographs of the urchins were taken before and after the procedure to document the dental work.