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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Dental care for people with special needs

Dental care in New Zealand is free for everyone until they turn 18.

Preschool to Year 8 (primary and intermediate school)

The Community Dental Service provides dental care for children from birth until the end of intermediate school.

It can refer children to the Hospital Dental Service for one course of dental treatment, often under general anaesthetic. If the child needs continuing dental care that the Community Dental Service can't provide, the Hospital Dental Service may provide that dental care. The hospital service decides whether children are eligible for continuing care on a case-by-case basis.

Year 9 to Year 13 (teenagers)

Teenagers at school, on a course, employed, or looking for work get dental care from general dentists in private practices. Most dental care is free. To find a dentist who provides free dental care for teenagers, phone 0800‑825‑583, or see the list at the bottom of West Coast DHB's Oral Health Services page.

Adults with special needs

After teenagers turn 18 they generally don't receive publicly funded dental care. People aged 18 and over usually get dental care from private dentists, and pay for that care.

Adults on the West Coast with special needs may get regular dental care with the Hospital Dental Service. Check with your general practice team.

Dental care for people with special needs is provided at Grey Base Hospital.


Hospital Dental Service

Grey Base Hospital

Phone: (03) 769‑7400


Oral Health Services

Phone: 0800‑846‑983 or 0800 TALK TEETH (0800‑825‑583)

Website: Oral Health Services

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Page created December 2015.

Page reference: 196182

Review key: HIDCC-49010