top of page

Do you have dental fear?

NYU Dentistry and Penn Dental Medicine are conducting a nationwide randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief, stepped-care approach to treat dental fear. 

The purpose of this research is to test if standard in-person dental fear treatment can work when done virtually (through an app and a one-on-one Zoom session).

Woman on laptop

Who is eligible?

Individuals who:

  • are 13 years old or older. 

  • reside in the United States.

  • can understand written and spoken English.

  • have access to a smartphone/tablet.

  • experience moderate to severe dental fear.

How it Works

What will participants do?

Basic Questions

Participants complete brief questionnaires (about 10 minutes) at several points during the study

App or Feedback

Participants may complete an app, discuss their past experiences with dentists, or do both during the study.

1:1 Session 

Some participants will receive a one-on-one session with a specialist to work on their specific fears by Zoom or telephone.


Participants will receive up to $100 (as an Amazon gift card) for their research participation and will receive psychological treatment at no cost to them.


Participation in the study may last up to 3 months (in addition to the completion of a brief follow-up assessment 1 month and 6 months after receiving treatment).

Hands using smartphone
Woman on laptop and smartphone

What is stepped care?

What is an RCT?

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

    • Step 1 is a mobile app* that contains the active ingredients used for years to treat dental fear.

    • Step 2 is a virtual session with a trained fear specialist.

  • Throughout the study, participants may be randomized to the stepped-care treatment or to give feedback about their past experiences with dentists.

  • All participants will be able to get the full treatment, free of cost, by the end of their participation.

  • A randomized controlled trial (RCT) is a scientific research study in which some participants will get a step of the treatment now and others will get it later. 

  • Researchers can then compare the groups to see what works and for whom.

Contact us to see if you qualify for participating in this study. Or to get more information.

Family Translational Research Group

New York University

137 East 25th Street, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10010

bottom of page