The British Dental Association warned a significant number of dentists in England were considering going totally private or taking early retirement.
Several dentists have already left, complaining the changes will not end the so-called “drill and fill” culture.
The BDA said the contract, which starts in April, does not give dentists enough time to do preventative work.
British dentists are tired of the Labour government dictating how dental care is delivered.
Privatization of dentistry in Britain is long overdue.
There are only about 300 dentists out of England’s 20,000 workforce who do solely private work.
Most do a mix of private and NHS work – commonly a third private, two thirds NHS.
But the move to more private work has been gathering pace for the last 15 years, with images of long queues for NHS dentists becoming increasingly common.
Last month, Tony Blair admitted he was powerless to stop dentists moving into the private sector, six years after promising within two years everyone would have access to an NHS dentist.
It is difficult to thwart the free market unless the government assumes total control and polices it with state power – like in the failed Soviet system. The British government has tried to rein in the dentists but their dental program is a disaster for their patients.
The Eden Dental Surgery in Carlisle went private two weeks ago, slashing its patient list from 5,500 to just under 3,000.
Principal dentist Elizabeth Mather said: “There was a lot of soul searching, but in the end we wanted time to do more preventative work and the new contract just doesn’t allow that.”
She said the practice was still hoping to treat children on the NHS, but it was unclear whether local health bosses will fund this.
John Latham, secretary of Manchester’s dentist’s committee, said a survey had found half of the city’s 230 dentists were “seriously considering” going private.
In south Manchester, the figure was as high as 74%.
He said: “Patients will find that NHS dentists will not be available.
“The problem is that it is not easy to measure preventative work, it is only in a generation or two that we will see the benefits.”
But Chief Dental Officer Barry Cockcroft denied claims it would not change the treadmill of “drill and fill”, whereby the more treatments dentists do, the more they earn.
He said: “These reforms will improve dental services for NHS patients, make NHS dentistry more attractive to dentists and promote a more preventive approach to improve oral health.”
British patients will not be pleased when they find their high tax rates will not provide them with dental care.
Will there be a tax cut?
Or a boom for private insurance?
And what role will the government play when the CRASH occurs?