NHS England data shows that, in the two years to December 2021, 29,356 adults in town visited a dentist – 40% of the population – and significantly down on the previous 24 months when 37,458 (51%) attended an appointment.
Between March and June 2020, dental practices were instructed to close and defer routine, non-urgent dental care to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The figures also show 7,826 (39%) of youngsters in Hartlepool saw their dentist last year compared to 25% in 2020 and 54% in 2019.
The British Dental Association says the statistics are proof that NHS dentistry is at the “last chance saloon” and in urgent need of reform.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "Levels of dental treatment are increasing and urgent care is back to pre-pandemic levels thanks to the hard work of staff."