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How does dental fear affect dentists?

  • One in five dental patients experience dental fear.

  • Patients with dental fear are

    • less likely to schedule appointments.

    • more likely to miss appointments.

    • more likely to cancel/no-show appointments.

Dentist at Work 2

Importance of Screening Your Patients

  • Many patients with significant dental fear don’t show any signs of it.

  • Dentists consistently rate their patients’ dental fear lower than their patients do.

  • To truly understand the extent of a patient's dental fear, it is important to ask them.

Evidence-Based Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for dental fear has been tested in dozens of clinical trials and used in specialty clinics around the world for over 20 years.

Our study is a nationwide randomized controlled trial of a brief stepped-care approach to treat dental fear. 

Stepped-care means that people only get as much of an intervention as they need. For this study, there are two steps: 

  • Step 1: a self-administered mobile app to treat dental fear.

  • Step 2: a virtual session with a dental fear specialist.

Our hope is that through studies like ours, CBT for dental fear will be broadly available to all patients, improving the lives of patients/dentists and reducing cancellations/no-shows.

Dentist Testimonials

"Many of the patients we treat every day have fear of visiting the dentist... even for routine dental care... a fear that affects their ability to come to the dentist! A dentist and office staff caring about and trained to reduce patient fear can successfully reduce their fear, make them feel comfortable in the office and actually improve their practice!  Penn Dental and NYU College of Dentistry have developed a scientifically tested program that helped patients reduce their fear and decrease patient no-shows/cancellations and increase patient satisfaction in practices across the country... The Dental FearLess App is a great resource for patients and dentists alike." 

Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD

For more information on study participation or to become a referral site, please contact us.

Family Translational Research Group

New York University

137 East 25th Street, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10010

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