Dental and oral health services | Western Cape Government

22Covid-19 Alerts

COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Dashboard

View Vaccine information

Other COVID-19 Information and Dashboard

View COVID-19 information

TB Information and Dashboard

View TB information

Dental and oral health services


Dental and oral health services are offered at different primary healthcare facilities throughout the Western Cape. It’s best to check with your nearest clinic or hospital if these services are offered by the facility, or if you need to be referred to a facility that does.

We want to ensure that everyone has a healthy smile by promoting good oral health and help you keep your mouth, gums and teeth healthy to prevent tooth decay and other oral problems. Man visiting the dentist for a check-up.

Some of the basic treatment services that are available include:

  • oral examinations,
  • X-rays, scaling and polishing of teeth in order to remove plaque and prevent gum disease,
  • fillings, and
  • emergency relief of pain and severe infections, including pulling of teeth. 

In order to access any of these dental health services, you’ll need to visit any primary healthcare centre near you, which will refer you to a hospital.

If you’re visiting for the first time, you’ll be asked to fill in a form that will be used to open a patient profile for you.

When you visit a hospital, which you’ll be referred to by a clinic when they feel your situation needs hospital attention, you’ll be asked to produce:

  • your ID, and
  • a recent payslip (if you're working).

Not all primary healthcare centres offer this service. We recommend that you first call before visiting to confirm available services offered. 

The types of services that are provided to help treat the following conditions:

Gum disease

You can be treated for severe gum disease (periodontitis) at a clinic. However, if there's oral pathology - lesions or ulcers in the mouth (often caused by excessive smoking, drinking or due to HIV infection), or if the patient is in danger of getting cancer, then they’ll be referred to a tertiary-level hospital.

Oral thrush

People living with HIV and AIDS often suffer from oral thrush. These are open sores or lesions in the mouth. Free medication to treat the condition is available at all primary health care clinics.


Patients can be given a local anaesthetic for dental and oral problems at primary healthcare clinics. (Local anaesthesia uses medicine to block sensations of pain from a specific area of the body.)

If a general anaesthetic is needed, the dentist will book the patient in at a local hospital theatre and the dentist will perform the  procedure at the hospital. (General anaesthesia is treatment with certain medicines that puts you into a deep sleep so you don't feel pain during surgery).

The Hope Street Clinic in Cape Town is the only clinic where general anaesthetic is available.

Jaw fractures

Fractures of the upper jaw will be referred to secondary or tertiary hospitals. Simple lower jaw fractures may be treated at the primary healthcare facilities. The more complicated cases will be referred to secondary or tertiary hospitals.


To find out more or discuss treatment details you can contact a clinic near you or the Western Cape Department of Health

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Department of Health and Wellness, Western Cape Government)

These services can be accessed for free at any clinic, but if you’re referred to a hospital, certain fees will apply depending on:

  • how much you earn,
  • the number of dependants you have, and
  • the hospital’s rates.
The content on this page was last updated on 2 September 2019