If you are considering taking a cruise, you may be wondering if there are dentists onboard. Most modern cruise ships hold thousands of guests, so it is realistic to expect that at some point a guest will be in need of dentistry.
Do Cruise Ships Have Dentists on Board?
Cruise ships do not have dentists onboard. On a cruise ship, you’ll find a range of medical personal and a fully stocked medical center but there are no dentists or dental facilities.
This may be because dental problems are rarely an emergency.
The primary aim of the medical centers on cruise ships, is to either fix the problem or make the guest well enough to seek treatment on land if necessary. They focus primarily on emergency treatment or minor problems.
What Happens if You Get Toothache on a Cruise?
If you do have a toothache or a tooth-related problem on a cruise, you have a couple of options:
Pain Killers From The Medical Center
There isn’t a specific dentist on board, but the medical facilities and team will still be happy to see you.
If you were in lots of pain, though, the medical facilities would at least be able to give you some painkillers and advise you about what you should do next.
In the first instance, it’s usually best to phone the medical center, as opposed to going there physically, as they will usually be able to form some sort of diagnosis over the phone.
At this point, they will either invite you down to the medical center, or they’ll send somebody to your cabin to check on you.
Cruise Ship Medical Centers
Cruise ships have well equipped medical facilities and the capacity to deal with a range of medical problems.
You usually find a medical center that is fully stocked with all the medicines that the guests could possibly need. You’ll also find equipment like x-ray machines for guests that need them.
On most cruise ships, you will find at least two doctors and nurses. Many of the crew members that work on cruise ships will have first aid training.
Do be aware though, that medical facilities on cruise ships are not cheap. You do have to pay for the services that you receive.
This is one reason why I suggest that you always get travel insurance before your cruise. Even if you’re just cruising from the US around the Caribbean, make sure you’ve got travel insurance because the costs of any medical care can rack up extremely fast.
In the post below you’ll find a good example of why you need travel insurance regardless of where you are cruising to:
Buy Over The Counter Medicines
Your first option if you have a tooth-related problem on a cruise, is to buy medicine over the counter. On most cruise ships, you will find a shop that has over the counter medicines, such as pain killers and cold and flu medicines.
This would work best for guests who are just in a little bit of discomfort.
Be aware though, that these shops only have limited opening hours and will usually not be open when the ship is in port.
Medicines can be quite a bit more expensive in the onboard shops than they are on land, so if at all possible bring your own medicines from home. I do pack incredibly light but I like to make sure that I have lots of medicines.
Bring Tooth Kits From Home
Many people like to bring do it yourself tooth kits from home. If you were somebody who has had previous teeth problems, it can be worth buying a small kit and bringing that with you on the cruise.
If you suspect that you may have a tooth-related medical problem, this can save you a lot of money. Of course, this doesn’t make sense for everybody but if you are worried, it can provide you peace of mind.
I’d suggest an emergency filling kit like this one found on amazon*.
Seek Treatment on Land
It may be that the best thing to do is to seek treatment in port. This does, of course, depend on where you are sailing, but in a lot of places, it can be a good option to seek medical care on land.
If you have something like a filling that is needed, which can be fixed relatively quickly, you may be able to get this done in port. It may be expensive though so keep this in mind.
If you have a more complex problem, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to solve it during the limited time that you have in port, but at the very least you could get an opinion for my dentist who would be on land.
The cruise line may help you find a dentist on land, but generally speaking, you would be on your own to try and sort this out.
Wait Until You Get Home
The last option will be to try and wait until you get home. If the medical problem did become quite extreme, you could try and fly home from a port to get it fixed, but this could be very expensive.
The best thing to do, if at all possible, would be to take enough painkillers so that you could stay on the cruise until you got home and then sort out your dentistry problem.
Some travel insurance providers will cover dental problems. What they provide does vary depending on the policy that you’ve purchased, but common things that insurance will pay for are things like dental fees gained by visiting a dentist in port.
It is always worth checking what your travel insurance policy includes.
To conclude, cruise ships do not have dentists on board, but they do have a range of medical facilities. Visiting the medical facilities on a cruise ship would be able to at least give you some sort of diagnosis and plan. You may be able to treat it with onboard painkillers. You may need to seek medical care on land from a qualified dentist or you may prefer just to wait until you get home to see your local dentist.