Oral healthcare provided by the Unified Health System (SUS) faces the challenge of attending the epidemiological profile of Brazil's adult population. Qualitative research using semi-structured interviews was conducted to understand the experiences, expectations and perception of SUS users to services in Diamantina, State of Minas Gerais, and content analysis was used to assess the data. Discussion of the results was based on dialogue between the symbolic interactionism of Goffman and Bourdieu's concept of habitus. The results show that the users did not give importance to dental care during childhood and adolescence because care was unknown to them. There was no offer of treatment besides dental extraction. Today, they value teeth and suffer the embarrassment caused by rotten teeth. However, access to dental restoration via SUS is not possible. For their children, they perceive better access to information and care, but for specialized procedures there are barriers. They express resignation both in relation to the poor state of the teeth and the difficulties of access to dental care, which can be understood by the constant exclusion experienced by them in the past, shaping their actions in the present. It was concluded that oral health in SUS should incorporate the social value and the aesthetic dimension of teeth as a social right.