Hospital admissions for dentistry have gone up by 6 per cent since the introduction of the new dental contract, according to figures obtained by the Conservative Party.

Last year, there were nearly 240,000 hospital admissions for dental treatment, of which nearly 18,000 were emergencies.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Dentists are being forced out of the NHS and some patients clearly have no other option but to take their dental problems to hospital A&E, a service which is already under great pressure."