Dental and oral health services | Western Cape Government

Dental and oral health services


Oral HealthWe want to ensure that everyone has a healthy smile. If we each keep our mouths gums and teeth healthy, we can prevent tooth decay and other oral problems. 

Our dental health services can help you with this. They are located at different primary healthcare centre facilities throughout the Western Cape. Check with your nearest clinic or hospital if they offer dental services at that facility, or whether you need to be referred  elsewhere.

Some of the most common oral health problems and what to do about them:

Preventing tooth decay: 

High sugar consumption in the diet causes this. It can be prevented by (1) reducing the amount of sugar you eat, especially between meals,  (2) brushing your teeth thoroughly twice daily, and (3) using a pea-size blob of fluoride toothpaste on your brush. The dentist can also place fissure sealants on children's teeth to protect them.

Treating decayed teeth:

If you have tooth decay, the dentist can fix your teeth with a filling, or if the pain is really bad, he can remove the pulp, or extract the tooth.

Preventing gum disease:

The main causes are smoking and poor oral hygiene and this can lead to gums that bleed or smell. Good oral hygiene using a toothbrush and dental floss to clean your mouth daily can prevent this.

Treating severe gum disease:

The dentist can treat you  for severe gum disease (periodontitis) at a clinic, starting with scaling and polishing of your teeth and gums.

Mouth infections including oral thrush:

If you experience any oral pathology like ulcers, burning mouth or swelling, it is important to get an early diagnosis so you can start the right treatment. These conditions may be caused by smoking, drinking, or can be because of HIV, TB or other infections. People living with HIV and AIDS often suffer from oral thrush and free medication to treat the condition is available at all primary health care clinics. The clinic may refer youto a tertiary-level hospital for these conditions.

Trauma to the mouth and jaw:

They may repair your broken tooth at a public dental clinic, but for a more complicated fracture of the upper or lower jaw, the clinic will refer you to one of the tertiary hospitals.

False teeth or dentures:

Those who have lost all their teeth may need to have false teeth constructed. Only the Tygerberg and Mitchells Plain Academic Oral Health Centres currently make dentures, but the service is very limited and waiting lists are long.

To look after your mouth and dentures, ensure that you: (1) rinse or brush your mouth with plain or salt water at least twice each day; (2) Clean your dentures with soap and water daily, then  rinse and leave to dry for a few hours (overnight) before replacing them; and (3) If you notice any damage to your dentures, do not to fix them yourself, take them to a dentist for repair.

Our public dental clinics can provide basic dental treatment services that include:

  • oral examinations, X-ray diagnosis and oral health advice,
  • scaling and polishing of teeth to prevent serious gum disease,
  • fillings for decayed teeth, and
  • emergency relief of pain and severe infections, including teeth extraction. 

When you visit for the first time, a health care professional will ask youd to fill in a form and they will open a patient file for you.

If a clinic refers you  to a tertiary hospital (Mitchells Plain or Tygerberg Academic Oral Health Centres) for more advanced dental care, you will need to take with you:

  • a referral letter from the dental clinic,
  • your ID, and
  • a recent payslip (if you're working).

Cost: You can access dental services at primary health care centres for free, but if they refer you to a hospital, certain fees will apply depending on:

  • how much you earn,
  • the number of dependants you have, and
  • the hospital’s rates.

To find out more or discuss treatment details you can contact a clinic near you or the Department of Health and Wellness.

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 9 September 2022