Hello and thank you for asking. I will do my best to answer your question.
Lot's of people have fear of the dentist. You are not alone. One thing you can do is request a prescription for a sedative (like valium) that you can take prior to your visit. That may calm your anxiety and help you relax for any necessary treatment.
Many dentists set up their offices these days to cater to fearful patients. They pay attention to music, chair comfort, lighting and so on and sometimes offer light sedation as well. If you really have a problem you may want to seek out someone who does this.
It is great that you do have the courage this time to go and address your dental
issues. Call before you go and explain your fears. When you do go, ask your dentist to be gentle and go slow. request that he formulate a treatment that takes your fears into consideration and thus paces treatment. For example, it is probably wise to have early appointments so that you don't spend the day thinking about what is to come.
As far as your teeth, receding gum lines are a bit normal as we age. I am not sure how far yours have gone (you may send a picture if you wish and I will comment further), but it may look worse to you then it actually is. Try not to pre-judge what may be an easy fix.
Let me know if you have any other specific questions. I hope that I have helped you calm down some about this impending visit. I am glad to help if you need further service. Thanks.