Dental requirements for medicals in the Merchant Navy

In the merchant navy, your dental health matters as much as your physical fitness. Like other body areas, your mouth teems with bacteria — primarily harmless. But your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some bacteria can cause disease. Before we discuss on the issues that can arise related to mouth, let us first know the marking procedure in the medicals of the merchant navy.

teeth check up
Dental Check-up

Human mouth is made up of upper jaw and lower jaw that comprise of total 32 teeth. Each jaw has 16 teeth respectively. If we consider one quadrant of the mouth then it has 8 teeth in total. There are 4 types of teeth

  1. Incisors – The four front teeth in both the upper and lower jaws are called incisors. Their primary function is to cut food. In total there are 8 incisors in your mouth and the upper half consist of 2 incisors.
Incisors teeth
  1.  Canines – There are 4 canines in the oral cavity. When you eat, canines help cut and tear food into bite-sized pieces, and when you speak, they work alongside the incisors to help form words. The upper half of the mouth consist of 1 canine. 
canine teeth
  1. Premolars – These teeth are located behind and adjacent to the canines and are designed to crush and grind food. There are 8 premolars in the oral cavity. There are 2 in each quadrant of the mouth. 
premolars teeth
  1. Molars – Molars are specially designed for crushing and chewing plant foods into easily swallowable and digestible pieces. There are 12 molars in the permanent dentition with 3 in each quadrant of the mouth. The third molar is referred to as wisdom tooth.
molar teeth

Suppose you go for your dental medicals in the merchant navy. You have have 1 perfectly positioned incisor in the right quadrant of your mouth but the corresponding incisor in the lower jaw is absent. In such a case, you will be awarded with 0 marks. It is important to have the set of corresponding incisors present in order to score in dentals. 

teeth anatomy
Tooth anatomy

One marks is awarded for one set of rightly placed teeth. For example it is –

2 points for 2 pair of incisors

1 point for 1 set of canine

2 points for 2 premolars

2 points each for 3 molars

There are total 22 points in the dental medical and if you want to clear the medicals of the merchant navy then you must score minimum 14 points.

Dental issues to take care of before appearing for the medicals –

  1. Teeth Implantation – Suppose a student had an unfortunate accident, due to which he lost 2 teeth. Later he got 2 teeth implanted and is now perfectly fine. The question arises, is he still eligible to join the merchant navy? The answer is yes. He can join the ship even with his implanted teeth provided that the implantation shall bear no side-effects later onboard and is perfectly cured.
teeth implantation
teeth implantation
  1. Cavity If you have cavity in your teeth during the time of medical examination in the merchant navy, you will be disqualified directly. This is because, when you will go onboard ship, it can give rise to painful experiences whenever you will eat, drink or bite something. But if you had your cavity filled up and cured properly before going for medicals, you will be eligible to join the ship.
  1. Pyorrhea – is an oral condition of bad breath which is not allowed in the Merchant Navy. This is because pyorrhea or bad breath can become discomforting for your colleagues onboard. 
  1. Root Canal – Root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the centre of a tooth. If you have had root canal treatment with caping done to cure the infected tooth, and it has healed properly before the upcoming medical examination , you are eligilbe for the the merchant navy.
root canal treatment teeth
  1. Braces – Yes you can join the merchant navy easily if you wear braces at present.

A lack of dental care can become visually apparent over time.  Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to the yellowing of the teeth, loss of teeth, bad breath and tooth damage. These kinds of cosmetic problems can impact your confidence and make you insecure about your appearance. As a seafarer it is very important to include the dental hygiene in your routine. In your medical assessment, every small thing matters so remember to take of your body well as it will provide you with ample opportunities in the future to pursue your dream of sailing. 

Disclaimer :- The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Merchant Navy Decoded. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided and disclaim any responsibility for it. Data and visuals used are sourced from publicly available information and may not be authenticated by any regulatory body. Reviews and comments appearing on our blogs represent the opinions of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of Merchant Navy Decoded. We are not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on these reviews or comments.

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What if someone has got retainers can he or she join


Hello Praneet,

I have a question :
I lost my front teeth and i have cap fitted for 1 lateral, 2 Central incisors it became black inside it. Is it fine to have or will it impact in the future


Sir I have dislocated teeth in the upper jaw basically the incisors and also an extra tooth behind them can i join merchant Navy

Aditya Video Editior

You can join. There is no issue with this.

Team Merchant Navy Decoded.


Okay thank you


sir my lower jaw is slightly forward than my upper jaw can i join merchant navy?


sir my lower jaw is slightly forward than my upper jaw can i join merchant navy?
(please reply to this comment sir because i havent turned on the notification option in my previous comment )

Aman Manwal

Hi Anup, the thing that matters is that if you are able to speak clearly or not, however, in your case you need to call us on 7417349336 to get more clear idea.

Jatin Kumar

मेरा एक प्रशन है मेरे आगे के दांत टेडे है । तो भी मैं join हो सकता हूं

Aman Manwal

हेलो जतिन, जी बिलकुल आप मर्चेंट नेवी जॉइन कर सकते है, और जानने के लिए आप हमारी मेडिकल सीरीज देख सकते है|


Sir I have teeth behind my teeth can I join merchant navy

Aman Manwal

Hi Rajat, definitely you can join merchant navy if you do not face any problem due to your condition. If you face some issues then I suggest you to talk to some DG Shipping doctor for more clear advice.