Dental Hygienist

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

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Being a Dental Hygienist in the Royal Navy means working in a dental practice that’s just as well-equipped as any you have experienced.  There’s one major difference: you could be seeing your patients in a shore establishment anywhere in the UK, on an aircraft carrier or an assault ship. You could even find yourself working with a special portable dental unit that is on a warship. And when you’re there? You’ll be responsible for the smooth running of your surgery, working with a highly trained team of dental professionals.

Your role

  • Play a key role in the day to day running of your surgery, from restocking essential supplies, to looking after hygiene and supporting your Dental Officer.
  • Work as part of the dental team, under the guidance of the Senior Dental Officer to provide oral health care to military personnel either at a shore establishment or at sea, and participate in Unit health fairs and national oral health campaigns.
  • Help patients to maintain their oral health by educating, preventing and treating dental diseases under the prescription of a dentist, referring to a periodontist for more complex cases.
  • Take responsibility for carrying out screening for diseases such as oral cancers and periodontal disease. You may also have the opportunity to train as a smoking cessation adviser, running clinics both on shore and at sea.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree
  • Gain specialist vocational qualifications as your career progresses

Skills you'll develop

  • The discipline and organisational skills needed to be part of a professional dental practice
  • Experience dealing with patients from all backgrounds

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You need a DipHE or BSc in Dental Hygiene. You can apply while still studying, but need to qualify before you can start training
  • You must be registered with the General Dental Council
  • You’ll need to be aged between 18-39
  • You need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • A passion for helping people
  • Great team players who thrive on working with others
  • Enthusiasm for working in highly challenging environments
  • A real sense 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

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • 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

  • Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC) – This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh

Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.

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 basic traning you will join a dental team in one of the Naval bases.  Here you will put into practice all you have previously learnt.  You will work autonomously in your practice, with your own practice list.  You will also learn skills that will help you practice dental hygine at sea or alongside the Royal Marines.