I have a dentist appointment in an hour or so. Just a regular cleaning. My dentist is gentle, nice, and smart -- she actually pays attention to you and even does the cleaning herself. And I'm not nervous in general about going to the dentist (the way I am about doctors, for instance). No, it's the fear of being graded. Going to the dentist brings up a particular kind of anxiety about being evaluated -- and evaluated on things over which I have no control (genetics), plus behavior (which I do have control over, but always know I could be doing better...)
So far, I've been blessed with solid (though crooked) teeth and having grown up in the age of flouride. I have no cavities, though I do have gum recession caused by the years of braces etc when I was young. Which probably makes me more anxious each time . . . is this the year I'm going to have a cavity? (my dad was 43 when he got his first one, and I basically inherited his teeth, so I've got a couple more years I hope) And even worse is sitting there as she reads off the gum measurements to her assistant. I'm always wondering, is it worse than the year before? Will I get a passing grade?
Update: not only did I pass, but she said complimentary things to me about my clean back teeth. whew!