Losing teeth is one of the commonest themes in dreams--or so the literature says. I was startled to read this over and over, since I rarely have dental dreams. Researching my own toothy dreams, when building this site, I had to conclude: either my dreams or my teeth are noncomformist. I think I know why, and the reason has implications for other dreamers.
I grew up eating a sugary American diet, but my mom was pretty aggressive about dental care. I had few cavities and lost no teeth. As an adult I had major food allergies and both refined sugar and processed foods seemed to worsen it, so I naturally gravitated toward health food. I just haven't had major tooth problems, and my dreams lack this theme. Yet dreams of losing teeth have traditionally been interpreted as anxiety dreams about the loss of powers, weapons, defenses... and I'm plenty anxious, a high-strung nervous type in fact. If they're anxiety dreams, I should have tooth-loss dreams like my friends. Yet I don't. Plenty of other anxiety dreams, but not those.
This suggests tooth-loss dreams are more literal than symbolic, and dreamers should quit trying to interpret them as worries about losing this or that. Take them at face value as warnings about diet and tooth care! If so, it becomes useful to note in detail which teeth go bad, and why. Such dreams may be diagnostic!
I'm not claiming all toothy dreams are literal. The dreams below are examples of tooth symbolism--just not the usual sorts.
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|THE BEST HOTEL: by Rick Veitch; pre-1995; an escalating surrealist dream
Rajiv keeps trying to convince me it's the best hotel in India: the orgy of biters, the
bowls of twitching fingers. But it's only the oracular spirits that really impress me...
CAUTION: CREEPY FINGERS
|BLOODLINES: by Jenny Badger Sultan; 2005/7/30, 9/1 and 9/3; a compound dream-painting
A man obsessed with blood and death disturbs me, but I have to admit I share his interests...
Next the blood comes home; a surgeon wants to flay my tongue...
Next, witch-children rebel against a bloody flossing ritual and fly away on broomsticks...
|CAKE HORSE: by Colleen D. McManus, art by Jesse Reklaw; pre-2000; a surreal warning dream?
The cake horse resented my taking one slice out of him; but he let me.
No second slice, though! He just laughed at me--through his bad teeth...
|CROCODILE DREAM: by Ellen Frank; 2015/10/5, a nightmare-poem on recklessness
Closer I edge to admire their scales, the glint of their teeth, and shape of their tails. They cast a strong spell...
|THE DRAGON'S TEETH: by Wayan; 1994/6/23; a dance dream that maps out my life
I'm dancing on stage, in behavioral space. But right in the middle of the stage, erupt these... teeth?
|THE EUCALYPTUS WARNING: by Wayan; 1993/8/6, a punning health-advice dream.
Bad puns link an ecological dream of a forest being murdered by inches, and a dental exam...
|EYE OF TOOTH, or, THE SCORE: by Wayan; 2014/1/28, a cryptic dream prescription
I'm a time-traveling revolutionary seeking a coded message from Pancho Villa.
I find it in a music score... but what's an Ojo de Diente? When I wake...
|I LET RATS: by Wayan; 1994/4/22, a nightmare on appeasement.
A bold rat comes right up to me. I don't want to provoke it, so I stay quiet. And let the rats...
|MAFIA DENTIST: by Wayan, 2007/7/10; a predictive comic nightmare.
My dentist (a Haitian Mafia leader) sends a message to my dad (also a Mafia don) by dental cruelty....
|MY GATE: by Wayan; 1996/5/29; a bizarre, joyful dream; 4-page comic (or ill. text version)
The full moon rises: I become Weregirl, do the Moondance, and gnaw open the lock on my heart...
|ON HER FOURTH BODY: by Wayan; 1993/11/25, a psychic dream-comedy.
A sexy gene-sculpted singer (an ex-cow on her 4th body) solves the riddle that's stumping Mr Spock...
|THE SEA-HAG RIOT: by Wayan; 100K, 1989/6/5, a wild dream hiding a warning.
Aliens, hypnotherapy, dancing molars, riots, witches, flying pianos, lettuce... yet there is a point.
|TIME PIRATES: by Wayan; 1979/6/6, a genderbent pirate dream about... healthcare?
I'm a modern girl facing pirates from the 17th Century Caribbean. Outgunned, but I
have something intimidating to bluff with: perfect teeth...
|UNIVERSITY OF THE SIERRA: by Wayan; 1975/10/30, a pun-studded dream poem
Jealous of newlyweds, I grind my teeth. But the Ice Age ground the Sierra's granite teeth, and they're lovelier for it...
|WALRUSHMORE: by Wayan; 1982/1/8; a dream pun with political bite
In my sister's house I saw a magazine cover showing that famous
national monument in the Black Hills: Mt Walrushmore...
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