People in England are struggling to get dental treatment, as dentists close to new NHS patients, a watchdog says.
Healthwatch England, the NHS body representing patients, said the problem was made worse by the rising cost of living and needed "urgent attention".
It said some people were living in pain, unable to speak or eat properly, because they could not find treatment.
And it warned the poorest were suffering most as they were least able to afford to pay for private dentistry.
Healthwatch England said the issue was creating a two-tier system - dividing the rich and the poor - and called on the government to take action.
"There is now a deepening crisis," said Louise Ansari, of Healthwatch England.
"With millions of households bearing the brunt of the escalating living costs, private treatment is simply not an option - and even NHS charges can be a challenge.
"This needs urgent attention."
Source: BBC News, 9 May 2022