The establishment of a dental training school in Yorkshire could offer hope for people without an NHS dentist in parts of the region, a watchdog said.
Dental queues are a regular sight in Yorkshire
The government has shortlisted the Hull York Medical School as a possible base for a new school of dentistry.
If approved, the new faculty will start training dentists in 2007 and the first graduates would emerge in 2012.
Last year, hundreds of people queued for hours to register as NHS patients in Driffield and Scarborough.
Many people in East and North Yorkshire rely on emergency dental treatment at the region's hospital and are forced to travel further afield to cities such as Leeds for check-ups.
"There is a problem," said Dr Jeff Pearson, of the East Yorkshire Patient and Public Involvement Forum, a health services watchdog.
"Quite a number of dentists are no longer accepting NHS contracts but the situation is improving - we are getting dentists in all the time."
Dr Pearson said the proposed Hull York School of Dentistry should improve the problem but warned there would be no quick fix.
"It is going to be a long term process because even when it is open it will be five years before students qualify.
"However, there is a tendency for people after they qualify to stay in the area (in which they have studied)."
In June, Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis put down a Commons motion urging the government to approve the plan.
"Yorkshire is one of the worst places in the country to live if you want to see an NHS dentist," Mr Davis claimed.