Q: What does it mean when you dream one of your front teeth falls out, you’re really upset about it, and everyone else dismisses it as no big deal?
A: It wasn’t long ago that we explored a tooth-falling-out dream here, but this one is quite different, and it’s also a great example of how some strange images are collectively shared in our unconscious ponderings. I’ll begin by saying that this dream doesn’t, in a world full of dream dictionaries, mean anything clear-cut or distinct. I can’t, therefore, offer you a pat, one line answer. While the images may be in some ways shared among many of us, the really important stuff that the dream is reflecting, as part of your internal processing, is unique to you. You can know what it means intellectually, but it’s not until you engage it that it will provide much value to you.In seeking to understand this dream, I needed to know more about it. I asked you for some more details and you responded:
It was my front right tooth [that was falling out] and it was much smaller than my teeth actually are. It also came out clean with no blood and I kept trying to push it back in there because I really didn’t want to lose it. Finally, the tooth came out and the gap where it used to be closed up a little. Then another person in the dream said ‘don’t worry, the gap will close up and you won’t even notice it’s gone.’
These details that you offered are wonderful. Importantly, the tooth was much smaller than the rest, which immediately evokes the image of childhood teeth, which, as distinct from adult teeth, are lost naturally and can be let go of without fear. Also, very importantly, it came out easily and without blood, suggesting that there is no wound in its absence. Finally, your inclination was to keep the tooth in place (of course, you were worried about losing it!), but when the tooth finally fell-out, the space where it had been began to close-up. Someone told you “don’t worry… you won’t even notice it’s gone.”
Whew! These details are so important. I shared with you my sense that this dream is reflecting some big anxiety that you’re experiencing these days, but it is also providing you with quite of bit of reassurance, if you’re able to see it. The unconscious mind can be privy to a great deal of insight and information that we have not yet been able to consciously take-in. In our continued dialogue, you shared with me that you have moved recently, and that many relationships have shifted as well. You have, in fact, endured loss, and in response to the fear and anxiety around the changes, you may be trying to keep things just as they are. It seems it’s time to let the changes happen, trust, and let go of the fight. Change and loss rarely feel good, but these changes you’re experiencing are part of a natural course of events and, while shocking, are part of your natural growth. Remember to take some deep breaths and trust the process you’re currently in. You may not understand how, but the gaps you see now will close and soon, you will no longer notice what you’ve lost.
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Satya is a psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their late teens, 20s and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com