Dental Officer

Service:Surface Fleet
Humanitarian aid
A Royal Navy Dental Officer at work.

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Being a Dental Officer in the Royal Navy means using your skills outside the confines of a civilian surgery and taking charge of the primary dental healthcare for an entire ship’s company. If it sounds like a massive task, that’s because it is, but you’ll have the support of a dedicated team, including a Dental Hygienist and a Dental Nurse. Together, you’ll make a vital contribution to the wellbeing of the people who protect our nation’s interests, every day. And you’ll do it all over the world, from the shore bases in the UK, to warships in the Caribbean.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • You’ll work on large warships, including our state-of-the-art Type 45 Destroyers, where you’ll have a fully-fitted dental surgery and access to the sick bay’s operating theatre and ward facilities. On smaller ships, you’ll manage the portable dental unit that travels with you.
  • Join at a rank that reflects your experience, and take the opportunity to complete specialist training in areas such as periodontics or endodontics. You’ll also develop your management and leadership skills through our world-class courses and mentoring schemes.
  • Even the smallest dental problem can have a serious effect on the morale of a crew member and the effectiveness of the wider ship’s company. You’ll work with your team to complete preventative dentistry and deal with a full range of clinical problems, in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable.
  • Outside your practice, you’ll have a vital operational role to play. You could find yourself in a combat or disaster zone, where you’ll need to put flight-deck control, firefighting and advanced life support training to use.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for qualifications is specialisms such as periodontics and endodontics
  • Gain fully accredited professional and academic qualifications during your professional training

Skills you'll develop

  • How to be a leader and apply your knowledge in challenging conditions
  • Opportunities to specialise in major disciplines

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You must be between 18 and 54 years old, and under 45 if you still need professional training
  • 5 grades A*-C (9-4) Including grade 6 (B) or above in English Language and Maths
  • Cadetships are available for your final three years at a UK dental school (not including your intercalation year)
  • To join directly you’ll need a dentistry degree and full General Dental Council registration
  • You must be a United Kingdom national, or Commonwealth citizen, or Dual National. Dual Nationality restrictions do apply
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • An ambitious, passionate dental professional
  • A confident leader
  • Always calm under pressure
  • Have a spirit of adventure
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    Pass and you’ll sit an interview.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place in two parts. A Pre Recorded Interview (PRI) is an online assessment which assesses your motivation to join the Royal Navy as an officer and your awareness of the Royal Navy. The Group Planning Exercise (GPE) is the second stage of the AIB and is an online competency based assessment which will take place on a separate day to the PRI. It will be conducted in a virtual group environment and you will be assessed on your contribution to the team based on your individual performance

Initial training

On qualifying as a dentist, weather that be in a civilian practice or with the Naval cadetship scheme.  You will join Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) and complete the militrisation phase of basic training.  The military skills phase includes leadership and teamwork skills, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmouth.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

Following your Officer training at BRNC, you will join a Royal Navy Dental centre.  Here you will work closely with your team and deploy to ships, or even with the Royal Marines, and develop the leadership and management skills you have been taught.

You have the opportunity to further your training and skills in areas such as periodontics or endodontics.