Frequently Asked Questions

Booking the Appointment


What do I need to make an appointment with UCSA Dental?

1. You will need an NHI number. This is your National Health Index number. It has three letters and four numbers (e.g. ABC1234). You can find this on old prescriptions, in a baby book, on old medical bracelets, or you can contact your personal GP. Please contact the UC Health Centre as a last resort. If you are an international student, you may not have one. Please visit the UC Health Centre in person with your passport and they can create one for you.  

2. You must be a fully enrolled student at UC and provide your student number in the booking information. We will then confirm your enrolment with UC.

3. You will need to bring your UC Student ID or proof of enrolment when attending the appointment.


How do I make a check-up appointment with the dentist?

1. Go to the UCSA Website and visit the UCSA Dental page: 

2. Click the "How to book with us" section of the Table of Contents. Find the BOOK HERE link. This will take you to the online calendar.

3. Select one of the clinic days available and select a time.

4. The next step is to enter your name and contact details. It will also ask for your NHI number and student number. Enter it carefully and correctly.

5. Proceed to the payment page where you can pay online for the appointment. 


How do I make a treatment or hygiene appointment?

You need to book a check-up appointment first and then if you require any further treatment, the dental staff can book you an appointment for a later date. You will then be emailed with the payment instructions one week before your appointment. We cannot accept referrals from other dentists, you must see our dentist for a check-up before any treatment or hygiene appointments.


What happens if I want to cancel an appointment?

You need to give us two working days’ notice or more if you want to cancel an appointment and be refunded for it. Contact the Dental & Welfare Coordinator via phone (03) 369 0451, or email If you cancel with less than two working days’ notice, you will need to pay for the total amount of the appointment even if you do not attend.


Who do I contact if I have questions?

Contact the Dental & Welfare Coordinator via phone (03) 369 369 0451, or email


What is an NHI number?

This is your National Health Index number. It has three letters and four numbers (e.g. ABC1234). You can find this on old prescriptions, in a baby book, on old medical bracelets, or you can contact your GP. Please contact the UC Health Centre as a last resort. If you are an international student, you may not have one. Please visit the UC Health Centre in person with your passport and they can create one for you. 


Clinic Questions


Who is UCSA Dental for?

Fully enrolled University of Canterbury Students only. We cannot see relatives or friends of students if they are not students. If your enrolment has ended, you must be seen in the semester you are still enrolled for.


Where is the UCSA Dental clinic located?

96A Memorial Ave, Burnside, Christchurch.

It is very close to the intersection of Ilam Road and Memorial Ave.


What are the hours of the clinic?

Check-up Appointments: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:30pm - 8:00pm

Treatment Appointments: Mondays and Fridays from 8:30am - 5:00pm

Hygiene Appointments: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:20pm - 8:00pm


Can I go to the clinic to make an appointment?

No. All check-up appointments should be made online or through the Dental & Welfare Coordinator. All treatment and hygiene appointments will be arranged with you personally. Please do not go to the clinic if you do not have an appointment. Also, please do not go to the clinic outside of our hours.


Is there parking at the clinic?

Yes. If you pull into the driveway of the clinic, there is plenty of parking behind it. It is free!


Is there a bicycle rack at the clinic?

Yes. This is located next to the garbage bins behind the clinic.


Is the clinic wheelchair accessible?

Yes. There is a ramp to the entrance. The bathrooms and surgery areas are also suitable for wheelchairs.


When does the clinic operate over the academic year?

UCSA Dental is open from mid-February to early December. It will remain open during this time and does not close for the term and semester break within these months. Check-up appointments will be offered until the end of October or until the clinic has reached maximum capacity. 


Does UCSA Dental have a limit on patient load?

Yes. We have a limited number of appointments available per week and we cannot expand on this. We also have a limited number of days that we can remain open during the year and we cannot extend this. Because of these restrictions, we will stop offering check-up appointments to new patients during October or November. This ensures that we can provide dental treatment to our patient load before we close in early in December.  


General Dental Questions


What treatment is offered at UCSA Dental?

We can only provide basic fillings and simple extractions. This is done under local anaesthetic. We can NOT provide root canals, crowns, bridges, implants, ACC claims, sedation for treatment, or surgical extractions, e.g. for impacted wisdom teeth.


What happens if I cannot get treatment at UCSA Dental?

We are happy to refer anyone who we cannot treat at our clinic. You can discuss these options with the dentist. We have a number of clinics we make regular referrals to, or if you have a personal dentist, we can arrange it with them. We cannot subsidise the price of dentistry outside our clinic.


Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

1. Wisdom teeth are located so far back in the mouth that it makes them very difficult to brush. This creates cavities. Instead of having to pay for fillings in these teeth, it is best to just remove them before any problems occur.

2. Many people also do not have room in their jaw for them.

3. When they start to grow in, infections can develop. This is very painful and it is important to heal the infection with antibiotics before it spreads. Removing the wisdom teeth prevents further infections and discomfort.


What floss, toothpaste and mouthwash should I use?

It is important to use toothpaste and mouthwash that is high in fluoride. Toothpaste that is focussed on whitening does not usually contain as much fluoride as the general ones. Have a look on the labels of various toothpastes. The type of floss should not matter as long as you are flossing.


What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused from high sugar and acid in diets. When these types of food are not cleaned off the teeth properly through brushing and flossing, it will weaken the teeth, causing decay. Teeth are the only part of the body that cannot repair itself, so decay can never improve itself without a filling. You can, however, stop decay from getting worse through cautious brushing and flossing.


What causes the need for root canals?

Once decay has reached a certain level, a filling may no longer be possible and a root canal will be needed. This is because the decay has destroyed the tooth and reached the roots of the tooth. Infections can form and be painful. The root canal will clean out the roots of the tooth and then fill the roots up with filling material.


Are some people more prone to fillings than others?

Yes. Some people have genetically weaker teeth than others and they should be extra careful about brushing and flossing regularly. High fluoride products will help protect the teeth.


What is the point of getting an OPG x-ray?

An OPG x-ray allows us to see all teeth and the entire jaw. This is essential for analysing whether or not wisdom teeth can be removed at our clinic without surgical removal or sedation.


How often should I see a dentist?

The average person should see a dentist once a year for a check-up appointment. If you are considered high risk for tooth decay, you may be required to see a dentist more often, such as every 6 months. You can discuss your situation with the dentist.


Does UCSA Dental offer hygienist cleans?

Yes. If you are interested, please bring this up with the dental staff in your check-up appointment.


Why should I see a hygienist?

For people who have heavy plaque build-up, staining, or calculus, visiting a hygienist will be beneficial. It helps prevent decay by removing dangerous build-ups that would be hard to remove from regular brushing.  


What should I do to relieve dental or wisdom teeth pain?

Pain medication such as Nurofen will help relieve some pain. A natural remedy for wisdom tooth pain is using cloves. Clove oil can be put on the sore area and naturally numb the pain. When wisdom teeth grow in, there will be discomfort and this is normal.

If pain is getting so bad that you cannot sleep, study, or think about anything else, you should see the dentist. They will check for infections. It is most beneficial if you can locate exactly where the pain is centred.


Other Questions


What if I can’t afford to use the dental clinic?

UCSA Dental is as subsidised as possible. If you have a community services card or have a lower income, you may be able to get funding through Work and Income or Studylink. In most cases, the dental work needs to be considered urgent.

Please see: