Dental patients who have sought private dental treatment after failing to gain access to NHS dentistry may be frustrated by the news that the average NHS dentist now earns more than £100,000 a year.
Official figures are expected to confirm that NHS dentists' pay soared by around 13 per cent last year following the introduction of the controversial new contract.
However, the pay rise has been accompanied by a fall in the amount of work dentists actually do, with the number of patients seen by an NHS dentist falling by a million last year.
Dr Anthony Halperin, a dentist and chairman of the Patients Association, told the Daily Mail that the new contract encourages dentists to "maximise profits" rather than focussing on patient care.
He claimed: "There is evidence that a lot of the most complex work is not being carried out. It is easier and more profitable to take out a tooth and replace it with a denture than carry out complex root canal surgery."
Recent figures from the NHS Information Centre show that dentists are now extracting more teeth and providing fewer fillings and crowns.
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Private dentistry news: 15 September 2008