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Dentist helps fix sea turtle’s shell

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MARATHON, FL. (CNN) – A Florida dentist gets an unusual patient, a sea turtle. Meet Elena, the first reptile to see the dentist.

A month ago, the turtle arrived at the Marathon, Florida turtle hospital with a fractured shell.

All it took were some dental ingredients like denture repair adhesive and two metal orthopedic plates to mend her shell back together.

And like magic, Elena was put back together.

Dr. Fred Troxel/ Repaired Shell: says: “Classically, they (hospital staff) had problems with getting things to adhere to the shell, so as a dentist they were asking me to help them figure out what might be the materials that can do it.”   Maybe I had something in my toolbox.”

Dr. Fred Troxel/ Repaired Shell:  says: “People from the turtle hospital were using an orthopedic splint.  Something that might splint bones and needed to adhere to the shell. I used some of our denture repair resin. Something we would repair a broken denture.  It’s an acrylic resin.

Dr. Fred Troxel/ Repaired Shell: says: “Modern dentistry is about bonding restorative materials to teeth, which are organic substances. In this case we are bonding something that’s a mechanical device to an organic substance, which is the turtle shell.”

It’ll take some time for Elena to fully recover, but doctors are optimistic she can one day be released back into the ocean.