How can we help you?
Children - All babies, children and young people under 18 years who either live in or go to school in South Australia can attend one of our clinics.
Adults - All adults (18 years or older) who live in South Australia and hold a current Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card can attend one of our clinics.
If you are uncertain about eligibility, contact your closest clinic. To find your closest clinic visit Find a Clinic.
If you are not eligible for public dental treatment, you will need to seek dental care privately.
While we are unable to suggest any affordable private providers, you can search the Yellow Pages for a private dentist that is conveniently located to you, or perform a Google search on “affordable dentists SA” and/or “dental no-interest loan schemes”.
If you are concerned about your ability to pay the fees charged by private dentists upfront, consider getting quotes from various practices or approaching a private provider to negotiate payment arrangements.
If you are not an Australian resident, you are not eligible for public dental care and will need to have your dental treatment provided by a private dental provider at your own cost.
Overseas visitors - if you are visiting from overseas and require dental care, you will need to be seen by a private dental provider at your own cost. Your private travel or health insurance may cover some of your costs.
Overseas adult students - if you are an overseas adult student studying in South Australia and require dental care, you will most likely need to be seen by a private dental provider at your own cost. However, it may be worth checking whether your country of origin has any arrangements in place which might entitle you to assistance with accessing dental care and/or meeting treatment costs.
If you are visiting from interstate and are eligible for public dental care, you may be able to access emergency only dental care through SA Dental if you have facial swelling, bleeding or trauma. You may also be able to access urgently required denture repairs.
For further information about healthdirect, see the SA Health healthdirect page.
For further information about dental emergencies, visit Emergency Dental Care.
Dental clinics are available by phone from 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Clinic phones are often busiest early in the morning, so where possible general enquiries should be made later in the day.
If a clinic is closed for some reason e.g. staff training, school holidays or refurbishment, a recorded message will let you know when the clinic will reopen and/or give you another number to call in an emergency.
Depending on the outcome from that assessment, you may be:
- offered an appointment within a day or two; or
- offered an appointment within a few weeks or
- invited to place your name on a waiting list, if you have not already done so.
If an appointment is offered, treatment may be provided:
- in-house at a local clinic or
- at the Adelaide Dental Hospital or
- at a private dentist under one of the Dental Schemes operated by SA Dental.
Children - As a parent, if you phone your local clinic, staff will ask you a few questions about your child and then offer an appointment. Your child will be seen by a dental therapist or dentist who will assess your child’s dental needs and talk with you about what general dental care might be provided. You will need to go to the appointment with your child, to provide consent for treatment.
Treatment through SA Dental may be provided by students under the supervision of qualified dental professionals.
Students who are being trained under supervision are an integral part of the public dental system.
Students assist us to provide more services and in better managing our waiting lists. While a number of students undertake clinical placements in some of our clinics, a significant amount of student training is done at the Adelaide Dental Hospital.
As an adult, if you are assessed as being suitable for dental care with students but you decline the offer, your offer of care may be withdrawn. You may place your name back on the bottom of the waiting list. However, when your name next comes to the top of the waiting list, your offer of care may again be with a dental student.
There are waiting lists for almost all adult dental services.
Waiting times vary dependent on the clinic and the type of dental care required.
There are no waiting lists for general dental care for children, although it may take a few weeks to get an appointment for a preferred day or time.
Appointments for dental care are arranged so that as many people as possible can be seen in a day.
If you don’t attend your appointment or don’t tell us early enough that you can’t get to your appointment, then the clinic is left with a vacancy. The sooner you let clinic staff know that you won’t be able to attend, the greater the chance of your appointment time being offered to someone else in need.
While an unexpected event can arise for anyone, if you are receiving a full course of dental care (not just emergency care) and fail to attend or cancel an appointment twice in a row without a reasonable explanation, then that course of care will be cancelled. If you still want a full course of dental care, your name will have to go back to the bottom of the waiting list. Different arrangements may apply for specialist units at the Adelaide Dental Hospital.
Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers - Dental care is free for all children from birth to five (0-5) years old or not yet at school.
Primary and secondary school children and young people aged under 18 - There are no out of pocket costs and SA Dental will bulk bill Medicare. A small fee may apply for school children who are not covered by the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) or a concession card.
For more information about costs and the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, visit children costs.
Adults — adult concession cardholders are required to contribute towards the costs of their dental care in South Australia. From 1 July each year, fees for public dental care usually increase and affect all dental services. Fees differ depending on whether you have general or emergency dental care, dentures or specialist services. Staff will speak with you about your costs before you have treatment.
For more information about adult client fees and how to pay, visit adult costs.
Alternatively, for more information about fees, contact your closest clinic.
If you are experiencing severe financial hardship, speak with clinic staff who can discuss payment options with you and if needed, can refer you to a financial counsellor who may be able to help.
If you have a serious dental emergency such as facial swelling, significant bleeding or trauma and require urgent care, you will not be refused treatment if you cannot pay.
Private health insurance providers may reimburse any of your fees at their discretion.
Please check this out directly with your private health fund provider.
Access to specialist dental treatment is limited. However, the Adelaide Dental Hospital (ADH), provides some specialist dental treatment such as orthodontics, specialist restorative care and oral surgery. To access any of these specialist services, a referral is needed from a dental clinic.
Contacting your closest clinic is always the first step. If your treatment can be provided at the ADH, staff at your local clinic can speak with you about the referral and assessment process, any costs and likely waiting times.
For more information about the range of specialist services provided by the ADH, visit the Adelaide Dental Hospital.
If you are unable to make an unassisted transfer from your wheelchair into the dentist’s chair, you may be provided with dental treatment whilst in your wheelchair, depending on the complexity of the dental care you require. If this is not possible, your dentist will discuss other options with you, which may include a referral for treatment at another location.
Some people might be a little anxious about seeing a dental practitioner. There are a number of ways that this might be managed.
Your dental practitioner will be able to talk with you about how best to provide treatment.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) provides Commonwealth funded dental care to most children under 18 years of age.
SA Dental bulk bills Medicare for care provided to children who are eligible under this program.
You may wish to allow another dentist, health provider or a third party (e.g. lawyer / SA Police) to access your dental records.
Once your permission in writing is provided, the other party will need to complete the relevant form and return it to your clinic.
Visit accessing your records for more information.
There are times when you might need to access a copy of your treatment information.
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1991 generally gives you the right to access a copy of your records. You can request your records personally or through a third party. If you believe that your records are incorrect, out of date or misleading, you can ask for your records to be amended.
To find out more about making an FOI application and the fees and charges that apply, or for an application form, visit Accessing your records.
Understanding information about dental treatment and care is important.
You are welcome to request the presence of another person who may be a friend, family member, carer or advocate.
If an interpreter is needed at your appointment, speak with clinic staff before your visit, so that arrangements can be made for this to occur.
Only accredited interpreters, not friends or family members, can be used to interpret.
Visit your rights and responsibilities for more information.
If you are the custodial parent or guardian of a relative’s / friend’s child (in loco parentis), you have the right to be informed of and make decisions about that child’s dental treatment until they are 16 years old. From the age of 16, a person has a right to make their own decisions about dental and medical treatment.
Where a child or young person is under the Guardianship of the Minister for Families and Communities, a carer and/or departmental worker is usually involved in decision-making. Treatment for these children and young people is free.
If a person is ill and unable to make decisions about their medical treatment, you can make those decisions for them if you have a Medical Power of Attorney.
If for any reason you feel that you are unable to properly explain your ideas or concerns, or you need some help to deal with an issue, speak with clinic staff who may be able to assist. If needed, staff can also organise an accredited interpreter for you, including Auslan interpreters.
Your comments are welcome and can acknowledge the care you have received or help us to improve our services.
Please speak with clinic staff, your District Manager (Clinics) or Hospital Unit Manager (Adelaide Dental Hospital) in the first instance.
For further information about providing feedback, visit Have your say.
SA Dental requires a large staff base to provide oral health services to the community and we welcome enquiries from people who may be able to help us achieve this aim.
To find out more about SA Dental roles and career opportunities, visit Careers.