Objectives To determine if temporal changes in dental fear over a 4-month period are predicted by changed cognitive vulnerability-related perceptions of going to the dentist. Methods Australian adults (n = 484) completed mailed questionnaires at baseline and follow-up, containing measures of dental fear, cognitive vulnerability-related perceptions, dental services received, and possible aversive experiences during the study period. Change in dental fear was the main outcome measure, categorized as decreased (Fear−), unchanged (Fear0), and increased (Fear+). Results Across the study period, 15.5 percent of people had Fear−, 73.4 percent had Fear0, and 11.1 percent had Fear+. In a multinomial logistic regression, after controlling for participant gender, income, time since last dental visit at baseline, dental fear at baseline and experiencing an aversive event, increased vulnerability-related perceptions were significantly associated with Fear+ (OR = 2.83, P < 0.001) while decreased vulnerability-related perceptions were associated with Fear− (OR = 0.17, P < 0.001). Conclusions This study found, across a relatively short 4-month period, that increased vulnerability-related perceptions of visiting the dentist predicted increased dental fear while decreased vulnerability-related perceptions predicted decreased dental fear. More appropriate study designs, such as longitudinal designs, and longer follow-up periods are needed to determine the possible causal nature of these associations.