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HealthInfo Canterbury

Dental care for adults

While dental care in New Zealand is free for anyone aged under 18, after your 18th birthday you must pay for your own dental check-ups and most dental care by seeing a private dentist. You can find a private dentist in Canterbury on the Dental Council of New Zealand's website. In Canterbury there are some options available for cheaper dental care. You can find details below, or print this one-page summary.

Tips for getting the most out of your dental care

Seeing a dentist for regular check-ups will save you a lot of money and trouble, and will help to keep your teeth looking good and working well.

Toothache and urgent dental care

If you need urgent dental care for a toothache, there are several options that may apply:

Dental treatment (not urgent)

Work and Income (WINZ) beneficiaries living in Christchurch who have used up their funding for dental treatment are eligible for a free single course of treatment at the Canterbury Charity Hospital. You must be referred by a dentist, who will be able to decide if you qualify for this service.

The University of Canterbury Students Association also offers subsidised dental care to students enrolled at the university.


If your teeth are damaged as result of an accident, see your normal dentist or an emergency dentist. ACC will pay for part of the treatment for teeth damaged in accidents but you will have to pay some of the cost. Phone 0800-101-996 for more information.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2018.

Page reference: 49015

Review key: HIDCC-49010