Dental care access in South Africa – Open the Debate


  • Neil Wood Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University


directorates, dental phobias


Patient access to dental care is still of serious concern in the South African setting. We need a detailed investigation to determine the facts and characteristics surrounding this challenge. Our profession cannot ignore the fact that large parts of our population still struggle to access dental care, and even then, concerns regarding the quality of such care are raised. Of course, the argument exists that at least some care is better than no care at all. There are certain known hinderances to dental care access, but whether these are being addressed or not is an entirely different argument. Some of these include something as clear as dental anxiety, to the deep
complexities of social injustice and inequality. Although patient-factors that influence the accessing of dental care is a major role player, these relate specifically to the patient’s own lived experiences and mindset, to their actual social and psychologic situation. Factors like personal financial stability, dental phobias, own perceived need of treatment/delays in treatment all influence the personal aspect and motivation to access dental care. Despite this, there is still a major responsibility on the profession to facilitate access.


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How to Cite

Wood, N. (2022). Dental care access in South Africa – Open the Debate. South African Dental Journal, 77(01), 1. Retrieved from

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