A dentist has penned a letter to a leading broadsheet newspaper drawing attention to the challenges facing the NHS.
Tony Kilcoyne wrote to the Daily Telegraph urging ministers to get a handle on the current crisis facing the profession.
His stark warning was backed–up by around 400 signatories connected to the sector.
Mr Kilcoyne’s intervention comes amid reports last week that some Britons were turning to charities, more usually associated with overseas aid work, to get urgent dental treatment.
Since starting its first support scheme in West Yorkshire two years ago, Dentaid has since been tasked with carrying out further work in the counties of Cornwall, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire.
Mr Kilcoyne lays the blame for the situation on the fact that so many dental practitioners are having to grapple with red tape and are not being allowed the necessary time or funding to do their jobs.
He said: “This letter is a wake-up call; we are urging Government to act now to improve the state of dentistry, and tackle the inadequacies in our system.”
The missive goes on to press the point that NHS dental services are “under-resourced and focused more upon experimental targets and tick boxes than patients.”
Responding to the criticism, NHS England said: “A recent survey of patients showed that when people need an NHS dentist appointment, they are almost always able to get one, and that nearly nine times out of 10 their experience is positive.
“We recently launched ‘Starting Well’, a campaign targeted at high-need communities to help children under five see their dentist.”