New figures suggest that the number of people seeking private dental treatment or going without treatment altogether is rising.
Statistics published by the NHS Information Centre indicate that the recent dental reforms have not improved access to dental treatment and that 881,000 people in England have lost access to an NHS dentist since April 2006.
Peter Ward, chief executive of the British Dental Association, warned that the reforms have failed to achieve their stated aims.
"They've failed to improve access to care for patients and failed to allow dentists to provide the modern, preventive care they want to deliver," he claimed.
"Instead, this contract encourages sporadic, episodic treatment rather than the long-term, continuing relationships that dentists and their patients value."
The figures also show wide regional variation in the availability of dental treatment across the country, ranging from 38.9 per cent of adults in South Central strategic health authority (SHA) to 58.3 per cent in North East SHA.