NHS dentists are pulling out more teeth rather than repairing them with fillings or crowns, new figures show.
A report published by the NHS Information Centre shows that there has been a rise in the number of treatments involving tooth extractions and dentures, and a fall in more complex fillings and crowns.
The report also indicates that fewer people are visiting dentists. Although the number of dentists carrying out NHS work has increased by 3.2 per cent between 2006/07 and 2007/08, 1.1 million fewer people were actually treated in the latter two years.
In addition, patients are paying more than ever for their NHS dental treatment
Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said that the report gives the most comprehensive picture of modern NHS dentistry to date.
Susie Sanderson, chairman of the British Dental Association, told the Daily Telegraph that the report was further evidence of "persisting problems" with the recent dental reforms.
"Those that are able to access care are confronted with a system that discourages modern, preventive care by placing targets, rather than patients, at its heart," she claimed.
"The apparent change in treatment patterns is also of concern and requires further investigation so that the impact of the new contract is fully understood."