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What Do Dreams About Teeth Falling Out Mean? 6 Ways to Interpret a Common Nightmare

Aisling is the author of "Dog Funeral Evangelism." Her articles on dream interpretation and Jungian psychology have over 2.1 million views.

Dreams about teeth falling out are incredibly common, and for most, quite alarming. But what do they mean?

Dreams about teeth falling out are incredibly common, and for most, quite alarming. But what do they mean?

What Are Tooth Loss Dreams Trying to Say?

Did you know that dreams involving lost teeth are one of the 10 most common nightmares people have? At some point in time, almost everyone will experience one of these disconcerting dreams. But what does it mean when our teeth fall out in our dreams?

Whereas most dreams and dream symbols have both positive and negative aspects and interpretations, dreams about lost teeth almost always have a negative connotation. Read this comprehensive guide to get to the "root" of your dental disaster nightmare.

6 Interpretations of Dreams About Losing Your Teeth

  1. Feelings of grief
  2. Control issues, lack of Integrity
  3. Helplessness
  4. Malnutrition
  5. Fear of failure
  6. Abandonment issues

Why do tooth loss dreams carry such negative symbolism? Dreams about our teeth falling out are distressing because they strike a chord that resonates with our most powerful negative emotions: feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.

Everyone's tooth loss dreams are different. Some people dream of their teeth simply falling out, while others dream of them crumbling away, melting, disintegrating, or even exploding. Regardless of the variance in imagery, dreams about losing teeth are decidedly disconcerting because they usually involve an unnatural manner of tooth loss that the dreamer is powerless to prevent.

As we gape in helpless horror at our own dental destruction, we can't help but wonder, "what does this mean?"

Tooth-loss nightmares are particularly distressing, but it helps to remember that dreams function primarily as indicators of the psyche's state rather than as prophetic harbingers. Your teeth aren't going to fall out in real life simply because they fell out in a dream.

The vacant space left by a lost tooth can sometimes represent the emptiness we experience after losing a loved one.

The vacant space left by a lost tooth can sometimes represent the emptiness we experience after losing a loved one.

1. Feelings of Grief

Tooth loss dreams are symbols par excellence for the expression of grief over losing a loved one. Death leaves an empty space in life like a lost tooth leaves an empty space in your smile.

Death leaves us feeling hollow and exposed. Grieving people often feel like they and their grief are on display for the world to see. Since our faces are how we present ourselves to the world around us, missing teeth can symbolize a vacant space (one that is very noticeable to others) in our identity caused by the loss of a loved one.

2. Control Issues, Lack of Integrity

Control and power are not necessarily synonyms. Power refers to one's personal ability to affect change in one's environment. Power infers wisdom and intelligent, judicious action. Power means bold fearlessness.

Control, on the other hand, often refers to one's attempts to deceptively manipulate others into doing one's bidding or dominating another into submission. Control implies bullying, coercion, and manipulation. Control equates to disbelief in one's ability to determine one's own destiny. When one lacks power, one seeks to control others.

But what does the difference between power and control have to do with tooth loss dreams? Tooth loss dreams can indicate that the dreamer feels they have lost the ability to positively affect change in their world and have moved into a place where controlling events and/or others feels like their only option. Unfortunately, this indicates a loss of integrity.

Integrity refers to a state of being whole and sufficient. When one seeks to control another, one is operating from a space of deficiency, or a space of lack—this is the antithesis of wholeness. And what could more accurately portray a loss of wholeness than a mouthful of empty sockets on display to the world?

Power refers to one's personal ability to affect change in one's environment. Power infers wisdom and intelligent, judicious action. Power is bold, fearless, and honest. Control, on the other hand, refers to attempts at dominating other people into submission. Control is born of cowardice.

When our teeth fall out in dreams, we are helpless to do anything about it—could this be representative of a learned helplessness in our waking lives?

When our teeth fall out in dreams, we are helpless to do anything about it—could this be representative of a learned helplessness in our waking lives?

3. Helplessness

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of tooth loss nightmares is the helplessness the dreamer feels. It doesn't matter if the teeth fall out, crumble away, melt, disintegrate, or even explode—the point is that the dreamer is helpless to stop the horror. The helplessness one feels in dreams of tooth loss can mirror unacknowledged concerns in one's waking life.

Since dreams about teeth falling out are often recurrent, it behooves the dreamer to examine their waking life to see if feelings of helplessness are a consistent theme. Teeth are found inside the mouth, and the mouth is the vehicle of the voice. Feelings of powerlessness during tooth loss dreams could be indicative of the dreamer feeling as if they do not have a say in their own life. If you see such a pattern in your waking behavior, it might be time to consider reclaiming your power.

If you think this might apply to you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I speak up for myself when necessary?
  • Who do I allow to speak for me?
  • Do I feel I have a voice in the outcome of my own life?
  • Whose voice do I feel is overpowering my own?
  • Why do I allow someone else to speak for me?

It is common to feel helpless without actually being helpless—you may know what you should do but also feel unable to accomplish that which needs to be done. Helplessness can sometimes be a self-imposed trap that we willingly remain stuck in because reclaiming power usually entails taking painful action. Dreams about losing teeth can be indicators of the pain the psyche feels when it knows what to do but is paralyzed by inaction.

4. Malnutrition

Outside of aging and accidents, the primary cause of tooth loss in the real world is malnutrition—malnutrition occurs when one fails to give the body what it needs to sustain itself. Tooth loss dreams can symbolize malnutrition, but that malnutrition may not be literal. Malnutrition can metaphorically indicate emotional, financial, or spiritual deficiencies.

Emotional deficits occur when one distances oneself from one's emotions or isolates oneself from others. Dreams about teeth falling out can also indicate that one's financial resources are depleted. They can mirror waking concerns about one's ability to sustain oneself or one's family. Alternatively, nightmares involving tooth loss can represent spiritual hunger or may mean that the well from which one previously drew sustenance has run dry.

If you think this interpretation applies to you, examine your waking life to see if each facet of your being is properly nurtured. If not, try to make changes to what you bring into your life to restore balance to your mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Sometimes, tooth-loss in dreams can represent a fear of failure or embarrassment in our waking life.

Sometimes, tooth-loss in dreams can represent a fear of failure or embarrassment in our waking life.

5. Fear of Failure and Embarrassment

In the waking world, those who have lost teeth or who are ashamed of the appearance of their teeth often cover their mouths while speaking or smiling. Nightmares about losing teeth can indicate a pattern of feeling afraid of embarrassing oneself or looking foolish. Keeping silent in dreams or waking life can be a metaphor for the refusal to act upon some meaningful desire or not attempting some new activity due to a fear of failure.

Missing teeth are not easily covered up—when one loses teeth, the gaps are there for the world to see. When teeth fall out in dreams, this can indicate a fear of being made a public spectacle if one takes a chance on a goal and fails to achieve it. Some may even dread the exposure the goal itself, fearful that having a particular desire may be cause for ridicule.

Because teeth abandon the dreamer's mouth in much the same way abandonment happens in the waking world—without warning, reason, or remedy—dreams of losing teeth can be symbolic of a fear of abandonment.

6. Abandonment Issues

In the waking world, life is filled with unstoppable, unforeseeable abandonment—jobs are suddenly lost, lovers suddenly leave, friends go missing in times of need, and families fail the ones they are meant to love. Because dream teeth abandon the dreamer's mouth in much the same way abandonment happens in the waking world—without warning, reason, or remedy—dreams of losing teeth can be symbolic of a fear of abandonment.

Fear of abandonment is a complex issue because one must deal with feelings of hurt and betrayal. In order to resolve a recurrent tooth loss nightmare, however, associated traumas such as abuse must also be confronted.

Abuse victims often feel as though there is something wrong with them—something undefinable that makes them unlovable and easily left behind. It is important to realize that these beliefs about being deficient are not rooted in fact. They are rooted in one's attempts to prepare oneself for future abandonment.

It is important to remember that fear of abandonment can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not only can it drive away those with whom you get involved, but it can also attract individuals who are likely to abandon you in your time of need.

Finally, Remember This

Dreams about losing teeth, much like dreams about losing hair, are rarely pleasant. While tooth loss nightmares are distressing, it helps to remember that dreams are not prophecies—they are simply unconscious reflections of the waking mind and its fears, desires, hopes, and concerns.

By fearlessly taking stock of the state of your waking life and reevaluating your emotional and spiritual state, it is possible to see tooth loss dreams fade into memory rather than blossom into real-life nightmares.

Songs About Losing Teeth

SongArtistRelease Year

Savoy Truffle

The Beatles

1968

Dentist

Steve Martin

1986

Cavity Search

"Weird Al" Yankovic

1996

Teeth Like God's Shoeshine

Modest Mouse

1997

Shoehorn With Teeth

They Might Be Giants

1988

(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth

Metallica

1983

Your Gold Teeth

Steely Dan

1973

Twenty-Eight Teeth

Buck-O-Nine

1997

Toothbrush

Brad Paisley

2011

Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out

The Antlers

2011

© 2018 Aisling Ireland