A couple in need of dental care say they had to pull out their own teeth because no NHS dentist will treat them.
A BBC News analysis of 2,500 dental practices on the NHS Choices website found half were not accepting new adult NHS patients, while two-fifths were not accepting new child NHS patients.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said the figures reflected an "emerging crisis" in dental care in England.
NHS England said 95% of people seeking an appointment could get one.
The NHS carried out 39 million dental treatments in England last year, but Rebecca Brearey and Nick Oldroyd, who live in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, said no local NHS dentists would treat them.
"We've been trying for four years but no dentist will take us on. Every time I go, I get told there's a two-year waiting list for NHS patients," said Ms Brearey.
"It's got so bad that after taking a combination of paracetamol and alcohol I ripped my half-rotten teeth out.
"The state of my teeth has made me depressed and I've literally begged to be taken on by an NHS dentist, but every time I've been turned away."
Mr Oldroyd said: "I was sat there for days in agony with a tooth which was doing my head in and stopping me from sleeping. "I was drinking to just try and just numb the pain so one night I just pulled it out. "The tops of my teeth are gone. I'm on benefits and trying to get a job, and when someone sees my teeth they just think I'm another waster. "I do believe if I could get some dental care I might be able to begin turning my life around."
Nazreen Akhtar, from Bradford, said it had taken her five years to find a dentist in the city who would accept both of her children, Shaban and Muhammad. "My son Muhammad has been in a lot of pain, he's had adult teeth growing over the tops of his milk teeth," said Mrs Akhtar.
"Me and my husband don't have a car so we can't travel to other cities to get care. "I do feel let down by the NHS as we should be able to see a local dentist."
Our NHS Dentist in Liverpool is still currently registering new NHS patients and we offer the full range of NHS treatments. If you would like to register at our NHS Dentist in Liverpool, please click here.