As many as 7.4 million adults could be affected by the ongoing shortage of NHS dentists and may have to seek private dentistry if they want to take care of their teeth, a recent report suggests.
Research conducted by the Citizens' Advice Bureau found that one in six people have not seen a dentist for over two years, often because of a lack of available NHS dentists in their local area.
Dr Bhavna Doshi, a cosmetic dentist and practitioner, said that the structure of NHS dentistry has worsened the problem.
She noted that going private gives dentists much more freedom and claimed: "I think many NHS dentists have made the move to private as they have become frustrated with the out-of-date and out-of-touch primary care trust structure."
Figures published by the NHS Information Centre show that 52.9 per cent of the population were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24-month period ending September 30th 2008, down from 55.8 per cent in the 24 months leading up to March 31st 2006.