Experiencing physical trauma in a dream can be very unsettling, to say the least. And sleep disturbances don’t just affect your sleep quality, they can also leave you feeling a little freaked out.
In fact, many of us instinctively check our body for damage when we wake up after one of these unsettling REM sleep events, even though we know it won’t really be there. In the end, all we can do is get up and just go about our days, trying our best to shake off any lingering weird feelings.
One of the most disturbing dreams you can have about your own body is when you imagine that your teeth fall out. Dreams of teeth falling out can come in many different variations and, oddly enough, they’re also super common.
According to research, nearly 40 percent of people have had a teeth falling out dream, even though chances are that very few people have ever actually experienced their teeth falling out (except in the fun way when they were kids, of course). In these dreams, however, there’s usually no tooth fairy bestowing gifts. Even if there is no actual dental distress, such dreams are full of dental tension, teeth grinding and instinctual teeth clenching.
Do you want to know more about teeth-related dreams, and what a dream interpretation might tell you? Good! You’re in the right place. While dreams don’t necessarily always reflect one’s waking life, trying to make sense of your dreams can become a helpful jumping off point for a more thoughtful examination of your daytime experiences.
A good dream interpretation has the potential of providing a deeper meaning to those classic teeth falling out dreams may help you feel less concerned if you happen to have one. Read on for more information on this unique type of psychological distress, and how these and other typical dream themes can be overcome.
Why teeth dreams can be disturbing
Teeth are vital to our everyday lives, especially since we use them functionally to chew and socially to smile. It’s no wonder that dreaming that your teeth are falling out can be pretty scary, no matter who you are or what your life circumstances are.
This dream is universally eerie—most people would feel pretty terrified by the thought of suddenly losing their teeth. It’s safe to say that whenever someone wakes from a dream about teeth falling out, they’ll feel a strong urge to check every tooth and make sure their mouth is just the same as it was when they went to sleep the night before.
Even though there is usually no sign of dental irritation at all, teeth dreams are also unnerving simply because there can be so much variety to them. They can play out in many different scenarios and situations as well. You can lose all your teeth, for example, or just one. Your teeth could fall out mid-conversation, or when you’re getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist. You might even be doing something as simple as picking something out of your teeth in a dream when your end up losing a tooth. The dream motif scale can be all over the place.
Whatever the dream ends up being and no matter the physiological and psychological correlates, there is clearly a lot of variation of the kinds of teeth-related dreams people have. The common denominator is how troubling they can be on your psyche when you wake up from one.
What teeth dreams typically represent in waking life
According to famous psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, dreams are more than just stories our brains make up while we sleep. Our dreams can often illuminate or mirror what’s going on in our real lives, providing subconscious insight about various situations and relationships.
A dream about teeth falling out—or teeth-related trauma, for that matter—can certainly indicate psychological stress over something going on in your waking life. When anxiety of some form or other enters your life, these can be one of the most common dream themes, whether the dream is triggered by a conflict with another person, a loss of some kind, a major change that’s taking place in your life.
Typical dream themes
Here are some of the most common interpretations of teeth dreams, a brief symptom inventory, and why these general sleep disturbances represent more than teeth tension or a literal fear of your teeth falling out.
This is the most common interpretation for teeth dreams. When you dream about losing teeth, usually your brain is processing how you’ve been communicating lately. (This includes the reverse, as well, like if you’ve been withholding communication or communicating poorly recently.) So, if you’ve had a particularly challenging conversation, you’ve been psyching yourself out for a tough talk you need to have with someone or you’ve had regret over something you recently said, a teeth dream may form in your subconscious.
Feelings of powerlessness
When your teeth fall out in a dream, you can feel a sense of helplessness—like there’s nothing you can do to keep this horrible situation from happening. In your waking life, this dream content could relate to you not advocating for yourself enough or standing up for what you truly believe in. This interpretation is also related to communication: Perhaps you have been withholding something you really need to say to someone. Or perhaps you feel like your voice isn’t really being heard by your partner, your kids, your team at work, someone in your family or another key individual in your life.
Teeth dreams can help us process awkward situations from life as well. Maybe you had a recent cringe-worthy moment—something you said or did that you really regretted after. Or perhaps you’re worried about embarrassing yourself in an upcoming situation, like a presentation you need to give at work or a conversation you need to have with someone important. (For instance, if you’re about to go on a first date or planning to propose marriage, you could have a teeth falling out dream beforehand if you’re worried about the moment completely backfiring on you.)
Teeth can represent vanity or a lack of confidence. Straight, white teeth have become a beauty standard, while yellowed, crooked or missing teeth are often seen as less ideal physical traits. So, when you dream about your teeth falling out, this could indicate that you feel insecure, or that you have some kind of growing concern about your appearance. Maybe you’re getting older and fear that you’re losing your good looks. Maybe your self-esteem is deeply tied to your appearance and your brain is processing what it might be like if you were no longer beautiful. Or perhaps you’ve been feeling down on your looks and this dream represents the results of the psychological symptoms that accentuate your thoughts of being less-than when compared to others.
If you’re recently experienced loss—the death of a loved one, getting fired from your job or another tough situation—you might have a teeth-related dream caused by depression. Or, you could have this dream if you’re worried about impending loss, like you think your partner is going to leave you. There also are religious interpretations that a dream about your teeth falling out indicates that there’s going to be a death in your family. (But, let’s be real here: Dreams are not psychic events.)
A less common interpretation is purely financial. Just like how kids expect coins when the tooth fairy visits, a teeth falling out dream can signify a windfall of cash on the horizon. This isn’t a prescient vision of the future or anything like that—you probably shouldn’t stock up on lottery tickets after having this dream. Rather, it’s more that your brain could be processing a money-related event that may happen in your life, like getting a raise at work.
The most common dreams about teeth falling out
Now, to go deeper into what specific teeth dreams can mean, the following situations are some of the more common scenarios that pop up in people’s dreams. The interpretations accompanying each one can give you an even more in-depth analysis of what these dreams might indicate about psychological distress in your daytime life. You can use them as a reference point when you have a teeth-related dream to help you further interpret its meaning, and also to improve your sleep quality.
All of your teeth fall out suddenly: These are typical dream themes when you regret something you said. Especially if whatever you said had a major impact on another person or on one of your relationships, this dream could represent the divide between the time before your statement and the aftermath of it.
You lose your teeth one at a time: This dream usually means that you said something you shouldn’t have but more incrementally—maybe you gossiped about a friend and now you feel guilty about letting those words trickle out.
Your teeth are really loose, but don’t fully come out: Some part of your life is teetering on the brink. There’s instability going on somewhere: you’re wavering on a decision or you’re unsure about something. These teeth dreams are all about your life in limbo.
Your teeth break or splinter: Broken teeth have to be repaired so these teeth dreams are often tied to stress or some kind of burden. In your waking life, you may have to deal with something you don’t necessarily want to deal with. Another way to interpret this dream is if you said something but you’re not sure that the other person really understood you—if your teeth are breaking off in pieces this means maybe you didn’t explain your point well enough.
Your teeth crumble: In this dream, your teeth might turn from solid to dust. This could mean that there’s also something disintegrating or slipping away from you in your own life. Maybe your relationship is on the rocks or you’re feeling a lack of control over a certain situation.
Your teeth start rotting: This dream signifies that there are lingering problems in your waking life. Something around you is decaying and not being attended to, which is the reason for this psychological distress.
You lose your teeth and can’t find them again: Since teeth often represent words, this dream usually means that you’re having a hard time figuring out what to say to someone. Or, you’ve already said the wrong thing to someone and you need to figure out what to say now to rectify the situation or explain yourself.
You pull out your own teeth: First of all, ouch. For this dream, there’s often a big change coming up for you. This shift is approaching no matter what and it can either be something stressful (like you’re about to graduate but you don’t have a job lined up) or something empowering (such as you’re about to start your own business), depending on what’s going on in your life at the moment. These teeth you pull out could symbolize ripping off the proverbial band-aid and accepting this shift.
You’re wearing false teeth: Dreaming that you have false teeth in your mouth usually happens when you’re involved in dishonest situations in your daily life. If you’ve been lying to someone, covering up a lie for someone else or projecting an image of yourself that’s not really true, you might have one of these dream themes.
How to recover from a dream about teeth falling out
First and foremost, go check the mirror and make sure those pearly whites are all in order—that will ease your mind instantly. While most times, dream-induced feelings will dissipate quickly, you may still feel a little shaken. And that’s perfectly normal.
The best thing you can do if you’re rattled from a teeth falling out dream is to embrace whatever uncomfortable feeling you’re having and breathe through it—whether it’s stress, regret, uncertainty, you name it—instead of trying to push it away.
Then, if you’re still weirded out from your dream, seize the moment to think critically about the content. Grab a journal and jot down whatever it is you can remember, then reread what you’ve written. You may find it all totally ridiculous seeing the scenario about your teeth falling out down on paper. Or you might find some interesting clues that correlate to how you’re feeling about a situation going on in your life. Working through the thoughts and emotions that arise can help further diffuse the power of the dream and perhaps even bring you some needed clarity.
In the end, dreams are just that: dreams
The most important thing is to not stew over a teeth dream or other dream themes like it – or any dream for that matter! Remember that dream analysis is just one of the many self-reflection tools you have in your personal growth toolbox. In the end, recurring dreams of this nature are just the results of our subconscious getting a good workout.
So while it’s always interesting to look for deeper meaning, once you’re feeling satisfied with your interpretation, let the dream go and enjoy your real life.