Sue has been an online writer for over eight years. She is a mother, social worker, writer, and dream interpreter.
What Do Teeth Represent in a Dream?
Before interpreting your own or another’s dreams, it is important to remember the following:
- Although only the dreamer truly knows what their dream means, this article explores what teeth typically symbolize to people. Each individual is greatly influenced by the world around them, but dreams are a reflection of the dreamer’s inner world. Dreams reflect the dreamer’s mental, emotional, and physical state, and a dream's symbols and contexts reflect the dreamer’s beliefs and cultural influences. Although only dreamers know what their dreams mean, this article discusses shared perceptions of the symbolism of teeth in dreams.
- Dream interpretation is most effective when the dreamer takes an active role in exploring and discovering the personal meaning of their dream. It works best when the symbol is analyzed within the context of the dream, and the dreamer examines the emotions evoked during the dream and how it all connects to their current day-to-day life. It is important for the dreamer not only to recognize which interpretations resonate most but also which produce a strong response.
- Incorrect interpretations help the dreamer eliminate the possibilities of what their dream means and are still useful. If a dreamer is deeply offended or annoyed by an interpretation, this may hint at a possible issue the dreamer is attempting to deny or repress.
Common Meanings of Teeth in Dreams
Teeth in a dream typically symbolize verbalization or expression. They also symbolize the dreamer’s sense of social confidence. Losing teeth often represents the inability to understand or communicate a personal issue. Missing teeth can point to the dreamer’s lack of confidence in social or interpersonal situations or difficulty with public speaking or expressing intimate feelings.
Teeth are very important to all mammals. They are necessary for survival. Depending upon the context, teeth may also symbolize aggression. Pictured below is a dog showing its teeth.
Dreaming of Biting
Teeth have the ability to bite. Their presence in a dream may symbolize that something is biting at or eating the dreamer (i.e., bothering the dreamer). Dreaming of biting another person may symbolize aggression and rage towards that person. Being bitten by something may symbolize something that is “getting to you” or getting under your skin.
Dreaming of Losing Teeth
Losing teeth may symbolize the dreamer’s fears and anxieties associated with impotence or becoming less attractive with age. Contrarily, losing teeth may also symbolize a regression into childhood, when losing teeth was common.
Dreaming of Dentures
Dentures may symbolize a loss of integrity or abilities (as in old age, for example). Dentures convey insecurity and falseness; the dreamer may have expressed false statements or encountered a dishonest individual.
Dreaming of Cavities
Cavities, tooth pain, or other tooth-related ailments often symbolize a harsh exchange of words. This could symbolize either a tongue lashing the dreamer recently experienced or the dreamer’s regret of a verbal exchange with someone in their family, within the workplace, or with their lover. This may also relate to a "sweet tooth" and may symbolize an intense relationship that ended negatively for the dreamer.
Dreaming of a Root Canal
Having a root canal in a dream can be very powerful, but the dreamer's emotion is very important when interpreting this particular symbol. A root canal may represent the dreamer getting to the “root” of a long-term issue that has caused pain for the dreamer and has resulted in the dreamer not expressing themself, using sarcasm as a defense mechanism, using bitter words towards others defensively to emotionally harm others before they have the opportunity to harm them, or simply putting on a brave smile while hiding pain.
The emotion felt by the dreamer during this dream is telling. If this was a nightmare or anxiety-provoking dream, it could simply reflect the dreamer’s fear of dentistry or could extend to the dreamer’s fears of exploring a core issue that has permeated their life. Being relieved and positive about the root canal indicates the individual has made tremendous personal progress towards resolving a long-term issue and is moving on with more security, confidence, and new sincerity and genuineness in relationships.
Alternative Perspectives on Tooth Dreams
Losing teeth in a dream may mean the dreamer is starting a new phase of life. Losing teeth may also be an omen that the dreamer is losing life force and is beginning to be ineffective or impotent in their current role.
In many cultures, the loss of teeth corresponds to death. This may be because we depend on teeth to eat and survive. Many believe that dreaming of teeth may directly relate to dying or illness in the immediate future.
The Layers of Dream Interpretation
It is important to note that dreams can mean so many things to each individual and could even mean more than one thing within the same dream. In other words, instead of finding only one meaning for a dream, it makes more sense to remember that dreams represent many different things at once.
A dream is like an onion: Its meanings are layered. A symbol may represent something specific that occurred during the day but also have different meanings for our subconscious or spiritual selves and even other meanings when viewed through the lens of our past or childhood. Interpreting your dreams can be a powerful way to gain insight into a world you're too busy to explore during waking hours.
Want to Explore the Meaning of Other Dream Symbols?
I'm fascinated by dreams and have done a lot of research on dream symbology and other dream-related topics. Here are some other articles that may be of interest:
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 Sue B.
Christine Miranda from My office. on November 03, 2012:
Very interesting indeed. I started having dreams of my teeth falling out when I was pregnant with my first. Since then they have occurred every now and then. This was an informative article. Voted up & more.
Sue B. (author) on July 05, 2012:
you may want to read the hub reccurring dreams https://exemplore.com/dreams/Reoccurring-Dreams-Wh...
If this dream is reoccurring for you, it sounds like you are not addressing something important in your waking life and there is an important change you need to make.
Dreaming of swallowing in general relates to what we take in. This is not physical but rather relates to what we take in as thoughts/beliefs- what we allow to influence our decisions, etc. What are you taking in that is bothering you? You have a belief that swallowing something will kill you. What information is threatening you and your identity? This may not actually be negative information, I just want to add. Just because information is life-altering and your current beliefs as you know them may be shattered, this does not mean this is a bad thing. if you need to make drastic change related to your beliefs of the world, it can be scary to realize everything you thought you knew is not true; however, this allows you to start anew and develop ideas that serve you better today.
Jayne wilkinson on July 03, 2012:
I keep having the same reocuring dream where i am swallowing something then i will die if i swallow what it is,i wake up grabbing at my throat or my mouth
teethpro on May 08, 2012:
I have never found before a comprehensive interpretation of dream of teeth like this. I can't remember the last I dream of the teeth, but this hub is kind of interesting.
Sue B. (author) on April 14, 2012:
Did the hub help you shed any light onto your dream? Since you mention dentures, perhaps this dream relates to a fear of aging, losing power/ability, and appearance. Since the dream felt so real and the feelings were intense for you, I think this is a significant dream for you reflecting an issue you need to address for your overall well-being and peace of mind.
Tiffany on April 13, 2012:
I had a dream last night about losing my teeth. My bottom teeth came out all at once and connected, kind of like dentures. Then later I had all of my teeth again but they started falling out and crumbling in my hand. I also remember having a missing gap in my upper teeth on the upper front side. This dream was very real and intense. I remember actually pinching myself in my dream and not feeling any pain and thinking ok this has to be a dream. I have never pinched myself in a dream before. I checked my teeth as soon as I woke up and they were ok. I just remember this being a very intense dream. I can only remember one other time when I had a dream about losing teeth, so this is not a common one for me.
Do you have any insight into what this can mean?
Sue B. (author) on April 05, 2012:
You may want to read this hub on dreaming of death & dying https://exemplore.com/dreams/Dreaming-of-Death-and...
Sue B. (author) on April 05, 2012:
Your dream sounds like it could relate to feeling as though you do not have enough personal power and your personal power has been taken from you in a painful way. Waiting for the dentist sounds like it could relate to a belief that you are not getting the help you need or others around you do not understand what you are experiencing.
Your dream within a dream sounds like it was disturbing! You could have a fear of physical death but usually dreams of dying, or being told you are dying, relate to the end of something old and the beginning of something new. Sometimes this feels very negative and we may not be ready to give up something old or it is possible we are giving up an important aspect of who we are and may not need to be or be ready to just yet.
If I had this dream, I would ask myself what part of me feels like it is dying, is not getting attention and is getting neglected? I would also ask myself what it is I may be eliminating in my life that I am not comfortable letting go of just yet.
Since you had this dream after (or in actually) the teeth dream- perhaps it relates to a belief that you are losing your personal power and energy and are in some ways threatening the life of your vitality, well-being, and happiness.
When I see threats of death in dreams, I see them as a metaphor and I relate them not to the death of the physical body but the threatened "death" of the mind, heart, soul/spirit.
thisiknow from Ontario, Canada on April 04, 2012:
My dream last night: My teeth were falling out and were bloody. I waited for two hours in the dentist's office where they kept making up excuses as to why the dentist couldn't see me yet. Then I woke up (not realizing that I was in another dream. My husband and I were sitting on my couch and I told him about my odd dream. He said, "Oh everybody dreams that, it means you're dying". Then I woke up for real.
I have weird dreams all the time but this one has bothered me all day. I know I'm not dying but no one has ever said that to me in a dream before. It was just bizarre.
I like this hub. Very interesting!
aaron on March 30, 2012:
Very interesting! I agree with the alternative perspective. Teeth are bad omen for me. Every time I dream of teeth, a death of a relative or in the family always occurs within a year. I always dread having to dream of teeth especially if it's falling off, bleeding or decaying.
Sue B. (author) on January 30, 2012:
Thank you for commenting. Teeth can mean a lot of things to many people. I have not heard of teeth symbolizing money and resources specifically although money and resources do tie into other symbols I listed such as our ability to take in resources, etc.
What is interesting is since you have been taught that teeth mean money & resources and seem to have adopted this as the meaning, your dreams of teeth likely relate to money and resources! I have noticed that more I read on symbols and dreams and meanings across cultures the more complicated, at times, my dreams are since this additional information is also incorporated.
We can certainly create a monster with so much knowledge but it is interesting how much can be personally integrated into our own personal meanings.
Nicola Tweedie from East Sussex, United Kingdom on January 30, 2012:
I was also taught that dreaming of teeth was linked to money and resources...have you read about this?
Mia from North Carolina on December 05, 2011:
Again Great Hub Thank you for it!
kartika damon from Fairfield, Iowa on April 18, 2011:
I always wondered about this since I have had dreams of losing teeth! Thanks, Kartika
womble.0115 from united kingdom on March 15, 2011:
interesting hub !!! i often have dreams about my teeth falling out !!! its not a nice dream as it feels real as do some dreams but not others
RandomLife from Nashville TN on February 26, 2011: