The Westmorland Gazette again highlighted the problems with patients registering for treatment with a NHS dentist, a problem that has been highlighted in the past (Gazette, November 15, 'NHS dental crisis looms').

You cannot blame dentists turning away from NHS patients in favour of private practice. Unless you have a production line of patients at any one time, its difficult to provide a cost-effective service given the payments made to dentists by the NHS.

An alternative is to receive treatment at a dental hospital, such as Newcastle, where students train and qualify - as long as your prepared to be treated by a student under supervision, and prepared to travel, plus have a longer treatment time.

The treatment is free, but you have additional travel costs and appointments.

Peter Gaukroger