FOUR out of every five dentists in Huddersfield are refusing to accept new NHS patients.
And the figure of one in five dentists who will take new NHS patients is double the national average.
In other areas, people have to travel hundreds of miles for treatment.
Phil Shaw, chairman of the Huddersfield Local Dental Committee, said: "Our local population is still well served for NHS dentists, compared to most areas .
"The vast majority of local dentists are still working within the NHS."
Mr Shaw said established dental practices were having problems recruiting new dentists to Huddersfield.
But this was also true in the medical profession, he added.
However, he expected the situation to improve in years to come when two new dental schools opened.
Mr Shaw, who practices in Milnsbridge, said the root of the problem in NHS dentistry went back more than 10 years, when two dental schools were closed, reducing the number of dentists being trained.
Things were made worse by the Government's imposition of a contract on dentists, followed by a 15% cut in fees two years later.
"If the Government restored the fees to what they should be it might persuade dentists to stay within the NHS," said Mr Shaw.
He said that unlike family doctors, dentists received no financial help with their premises or staff.
Everything had to come from the dentist's own pocket, said Mr Shaw.
"Dentists are independent practitioners who choose to carry out some, all or none of our working lives in the NHS," he said. "We get nothing back from the NHS.
"If a dentist wants to set up in Huddersfield they have to go to the bank for a £250,000 loan - at a minimum."
Mr Shaw said a new Government contract was due to be imposed on the profession soon.
But this was being undertaken without consultation with the British Dental Association, the profession's trade union, he added.