What’s the deal with the “teeth falling out” dream?: A few times a year I have a dream in which my teeth are either loose or falling out. I’d always assumed that these dreams were unique to me, until a few years ago at a party when I overheard a girl describing just such a dream to a friend, who responded with “Oh yeah, ‘the teeth falling out’ dream. Everyone gets those.” I’ve since discover that this is not strictly true: not everyone gets them — The Queen doesn’t, for example. But they are certainly not rare. In fact, in The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud named it as one of the four “typical dreams,” along with “falling from a height, … flying, and embarrassment because one is naked or scantily clad.”
This was a tough one to research, not due to dearth of information on the subject, but rather because of abundance. There are a bajillion websites that purport to interpret dreams, but most of them appear to utilize the scientific method commonly referred to as “guessing.” A good example is this one which says that the “teeth falling out dream” must have to do with anxiety over children, because “animals carry their young around with their teeth.”
The most common explanation on these sites is that the “teeth falling out” dream reflects anxiety about appearance. I can see that, I guess, but it seems like that when I have this dream, I am much more concerned about the actual loss of my teeth rather than about my resultant appearance. Another common interpretation is that this results from the dreamer’s fears about “losing power”. That hits closer to home for me — in the dreams I always find myself wondering how I’m going to eat with no teeth — but I haven’t made a conscience effort to note when these dreams take place and see if they correspond with feelings of “power loss” in my waking life (like, when I’m in close proximity to Kryptonite).
Perhaps it’s the skeptic in me, but I find the most plausible explanation to be the most boring: that the dreams are a manifestation of bruxism (“the habitual, involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth, usually during sleep”) which, according to my dentist, I show symptoms of. I guess I better get that Night Guard after all.
Bonus! Who was in The Wiz?: Dorothy: Diana Ross; The Scarecrow: Michael Jackson; The Tinman: Nipsey Russell; The Lion: Ted Ross; The Wiz: Richard Prior.