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Objective. To explore and document self-reported factors contributing to Indigenous Australians’ attendance and non-attendance at South Australian public dental clinics. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people (18 males and 26 females) referred for oral care through the Aboriginal Liaison Program of the South Australian Dental Service. Thematic analysis was performed on 44 transcribed conversations and a conceptual model developed. Results. Persons completing all recommended treatment reported high self-efficacy, health literacy, social cohesion and previous use of dental services and presence of a health advocate. Those completing some recommended treatment reported achieving desired oral health outcome of relief of pain or system-level barriers to completion. Those reporting accessing no dental treatment in contrast reported varied and complex barriers to dental care. Conclusion and implications. Differences in both individual and health service-related factors were evident. Individual-level factors related to health literacy, self-efficacy, and social control. Service factors related to availability of an advocate, service delivery, and culture. Practical service-level changes may alleviate the effects of individual-level factors.