Dentists on Cruise Ships & Luxury Yachts: Do they Exist?

Dentists on Cruise Ships

The need to see a dentist is often overlooked until it simply cannot be any longer, such is the dislike a lot of people have for sitting in the chair. On a cruise, the chairs you want to be sitting in are dining ones or sunbeds or cinema seats: all impossible if you suffer an unexpected dental emergency. Being in the middle of the ocean with an horrific oral infection or broken tooth can lead to further complications. Depending on the duration of the cruise and its route it could be many days until port beckons, and then there’s the possibility of language, location, appointment availability and time ashore challenges, with no opportunity for follow-up should that be necessary.

All the reasons for having a dentist on board.

Although there won’t be one; unless you’re on a world cruise, or one with remote destination itinerary.

Cruise ships carrying more than 12 passengers are required to have a doctor and medical facilities onboard, but there is no such requisite for a dentist, regardless of passenger numbers. River cruises, being within easy reach of land, do not adhere to that same rule of available medical support.

A boat safari should be enjoyed without toothache and should that unfortuntely be the case, or that you might be clenching your teeth at night, suffering from bruxism, those different but equally agonising experiences may prove a challenge to deal with. The most you can expect is pain medication or antibiotics from the ship’s doctor and finding a dentist during the next port of call. Repair kits for loosened crowns and venerrs are available from reputable chemists, as is glue for broken dentures. Seasoned cruise passengers always suggest including these in personal medical supplies for those with any dental prosthetics.

Even for the limited ship dentist positions available, it’s not necessarily a financially lucrative position. Cabin and food is provided, along with any air fares to the departure port, but the alure is the ability to travel. Globally recognised cruise companies obviously contract only licensed, experienced and practicing dentists with clean disciplinary backgrounds, and they look for a strong commitment to the position.

There was a time that Holland America cruise included a physician, several nurses, and a dentist. The dentist was certainly available for passenger emergencies, but their primary patients were officers and crew members, who spend nine to 12 months at a time on the ships. Depending on the ship, there might be 1,200 to 1,800 employees aboard.

Of these, officers are Dutch and British, and crew members are Indonesian and Filipino. Onboard medical and dental care is a job benefit. Passengers may not realise that every Holland America ship has a full hospital on board, complete with operating theatres, an intensive care unit, and a morgue. Dentists can perform routine physicals, blood pressure checks, things like that, and they also can do emergency surgery if necessary. Anything else would be contracted out in a port city.

Cruise lines have an extensive resources, including everything onboard that would be in a standard dental office. Every properly diagnosed and treated dental ailment is under evaluation, with the presiding dentist accepting all responsibility for the level of care provided.

A ship’s dentist can be on call can be for up to 12 hours at time in order to keep crew, staff, and passengers helathy and safe. Luxury ocean holidays include peace of mind. With an average of 3000 passengers, and more than 250 staff and crew a dental emergency can most certainly occur at sea and the further from land a liner may go, the greater the need for medical personnel.

From a broken tooth, a painful cavity or gum infection, and extraction or the recementing of a crown, any dental treatment requires the passenger to fill out a release form stating that all charges are their responsibility. It is usually charged to their credit card, which they then forward to their insurance company upon their return for the appropriate reimbursement. A dentist who offers the Afterpay option would be useful for some. Dental work is expensive across land and sea and a stunning holiday can be shattered by the added cost of an unfortunate mishap.

Some superyachts of billionaires may very well include a fully equipped dental surgery with the requisite dentist and nursing staff accompanying that, but with the exacting security and privacy levels surrounding the ultra privileged, it is difficult to ascertain the availabilty of the long or short-term tenure of denists on multi-million dollar yachts. It’s certainly not out the realm of possibility. To own a superyacht you need serious disposable income. If you had a net worth of around $US200m you’re basically not rich enough to contemplate the considerable outgoings and maintenance for such extravagance and there are certainly those for whom that amount of money is a just drop in the ocean.