For at least the last 5 years- possibly longer as I don’t really recall when it all started- I’ve had this recurring dream about my teeth falling out. The details are never exactly the same, but they usually follow a certain pattern. I’ll find that I have a loose tooth, so I’ll try to hold it in place with my tongue or a finger while the gums heal back around the tooth. Eventually that tooth will fall out and I’ll try to put it back in place, again hoping that the gums will accept the tooth back. Usually the loose teeth falling out/trying desperately to put them back process will repeat until 5-10 teeth have come out and I wake up feeling rather freaked out.
Sometimes dream-me will get the brilliant idea that I just need to hold on to the teeth until I can get to a dentist, who will surely be able to put them back in place. Often, this dream is set in a bathroom, as dream-me needs a mirror to confirm that this is really happening. One time I found myself on an African safari, which thankfully transitioned to more of a zoo, and I was able to find a restroom mirror in which to watch horrified while it all played out.
Over time, I’ve come to think of the teeth dream as having a mind of its own. I started to get familiar with the expected plot of the dream and was able to recognized them in-dream and calm down a little. I wouldn’t call it lucid dreaming, not by a long shot- more like dream-me was just a little better equipped to realize this situation wasn’t as awful as it seemed. Then the dream started getting sneaky! I specifically remember one dream where I was driving in my car on a pretty, sunny day when my teeth started getting that familiar loose feeling, and dream-me thought “this can’t be the teeth dream; I’m awake!”
Just the other night I had the dream again, but it was different this time. I was already at the dentist for a filling, and while the dentist was away in another room, one of my very back molars started to crumble. Panicked, I started wandering around looking for the dentist (who, as it happens, turned out to be involved in some nefarious mafia scandal) and as I was searching for him, more teeth started to crumble all the way down to the root and beyond. I was spitting out little bits of tooth and blood into a napkin. I remember dream-me thinking “Hmm, this isn’t how the teeth dream goes. This might be real!” I even asked one of the dental assistants to pinch me to make sure I was awake. Sadly, the dentist didn’t know what was causing my problem, and basically just sent me away with a warning to brush better.
Back in 2008, I spent a summer living with my sister in Atlanta in some naive attempt to “find myself.” I had one year left of college and was worrying a lot about what life after college would hold. As you can probably guess, I did not find myself that summer. As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.” I did call things off with my fiance, break a toe, make a sobbing fool of myself in a bar- not all in the same occasion, thankfully- and have the teeth dream several times.
One day that summer I decided to google what the teeth dream means. Normally, I think dream interpretations are bullshit. Dreams are usually just your subconscious piecing together the odds and ends that are floating around in your head. But, I was curious for any insight as to why this theme kept popping up. According to the internet, this is a very common dream, that could mean a fear of getting older, feeling powerless about events in life, fear of losing something, and/or feeling a lack of control.
When I think back on times I’ve had the most frequent or vivid teeth dreams, I’d have to say that interpretation makes sense. As I’ve already talked about on this blog, I have some anxiety issues, and times when I’m feeling extra anxious are often when I have this type of dream. That summer in Atlanta, and the following school year, were times I was pretty constantly worried about what I was going to do after I graduated. Just recently, I’ve been feeling rather unhappy with the smallish, southern town I live in, and am going back and forth about if I should continue with my engineering degree. Having that extra-disturbing teeth dream the other night is making me think I have some important decisions that I should stop procrastinating. I’ll get back to you on that…
Anyone else have the teeth dream, and/or any other recurring dream? Any insights?