Unless, of course, the patient happens to be a 38 stone polar bear.
Walker, who is situated at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, had an infected tooth which needed to be removed as it was causing swelling in the mouth, and seemed to be causing the two-year-old bear some discomfort.
For the safety of the bear and the veterinary staff who were working on him, Walker was anaesthetised for the whole procedure – and it took ten people to lift him onto the table after the sedative had been administered!
It turns out that the infection had caused the tooth not to develop, which is why it was important to remove it; experts think he may have broken off the tip of the tooth at some point, which is what caused the initial infection.
The procedure was carried out by a team of four vets including a dental specialist.
A park spokesman said: “It was a pretty standard operation but it was made more unusual by his size.”
“His teeth were X-rayed. At first they thought they could do a root canal operation but when they took a good look they realised they would have to do a removal. The operation lasted four hours. Walker was up and eating again soon after and he was right as rain the next day.”
Walker arrived at the Highland Wildlife Park at the end of 2010 from a Dutch zoo and he shares his enclosure with 28-year-old female, Mercedes.