What Does It Mean When Teeth Are Falling Out in a Dream?

Karen Frazier
Man with missing tooth

Having your teeth fall out in a dream can be disturbing, but it is one of the most common types of symbolic dreams. This symbol may have a few different meanings depending on other context clues that arise. When interpreting symbolic dreams, such as one in which your teeth fall out, it's important to pay attention to the entire dream as well as what's going on in your life to determine the meaning.

Multiple Meanings for Teeth Falling Out in Dreams

If you've ever dreamed that your teeth have fallen out, then you've also probably awakened feeling slightly disconcerted. After all, teeth are tied to many aspects of self, such as your ability to eat and nourish yourself, how others view you, how physically attractive you feel, your prosperity status, and more. All the ways your teeth represent your various aspects of self can be clues to what it means when they fall out in dreams.

Dental Distress

Perhaps the most literal translation of your teeth falling out in dreams is that you are experiencing some type of dental distress or concerns about oral health. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found a correlation between self-reported dental irritation on waking and dreams of dental distress that included things like teeth falling out, tooth pain, and rotting teeth. If you consistently have this dream and wake with teeth pain or mouth pain, it may be time to schedule a visit with your dentist to see if there's an issue with your teeth or gums, or if you show signs of teeth grinding (bruxism) during the night.

Man experiencing dental pain

Nourishment

You use your teeth to chew the foods you eat to nourish you. When they fall out, nourishment becomes more difficult. Therefore, in dreams, teeth can be symbolic of nourishment, and when your teeth fall out in dreams, it may indicate you are feeling concerned about your ability to nourish yourself. This doesn't only mean nutritionally (although it certainly can), but it can also indicate you are feeling either poorly nourished or unable to nourish yourself spiritually, emotionally, creatively, or in another way. Does this fit you? Next time you have this dream, ask yourself if you are feeling nourished and sustained in these important areas of your life. If the answer is no for any of them, then chances are, this is the meaning of your dream.

Anxiety About How You Look

Many people have anxieties about their physical appearance, and the condition of your teeth play a big role in how you feel about how you look. Therefore, if your teeth fall out in dreams, you may be feeling unattractive or worried about how others will perceive you based on physical attractiveness. Pay close attention to other context clues in your dream to tell you if this may be the correct interpretation. For example, where are you and what's happening when your teeth fall out? Are you with others? Do they act dismayed or disgusted by your appearance now that your teeth are gone? Likewise, note your feelings in the dream. Do you immediately worry you will look less attractive? You can also look to waking life cues to see if this interpretation fits for you.

An Unexpected Windfall

Remember when you were a kid, and you lost a tooth? Chances are, you put the tooth under your pillow, and the Tooth Fairy brought you some cold, hard cash. This cultural experience can find its way into your dreams, so if the teeth falling out dream feels positive and you wake up feeling expectant, then there's a good chance this is the interpretation of your dream that fits the closest.

Cash raining on a boy

Difficulty With Communication

When teeth fall out, it's more difficult to speak clearly without impediment. Therefore, sometimes in a dream when your teeth fall out, it's because you feel you aren't communicating clearly in some aspect of your life. Pay close attention to other context clues in your dream. Are you trying to speak but no words are coming out, or are you experiencing malfunctions in communications technology? These can indicate the teeth are another symbol for feeling ineffective in communication. Likewise, if after your teeth fall out, your ability to speak is hampered, it may indicate the same. Check in with what's going on in your own life to determine whether this fits.

Vulnerability or Embarrassment

Just like nudity in dreams can indicate feelings of vulnerability or embarrassment, so can dreams where your teeth fall out. Having nice teeth is a cultural norm that people aspire to, and when something goes wrong with your teeth in waking life, it can lead to feelings of embarrassment and vulnerability as you worry what type of impression you'll make with missing or damaged teeth. Therefore, it's common to have this dream when you're feeling vulnerable, embarrassed, or afraid of being embarrassed.

Teen feeling vulnerable

Generalized Anxiety

Having issues with your teeth in waking life can lead to all sorts of anxiety, particularly if you are one of the nearly 60% of the population that experiences some degree of dental anxiety. This interpretation of the dream may apply specifically to you if you experience dental anxiety or if you are particularly anxious about your physical appearance.

Renewal

Psychologist Carl Jung believed that when teeth fell out in dreams, it indicated a time of renewal was upon you. Jung believed that because you lost teeth as children and grew new ones, when you had this dream it meant you were approaching a time of renewal in some aspect of your life. This is a likely explanation if, in your waking life, you are going through a period of change such as a new job, a new relationship, or a new home, or if you are seeking to make a change.

Fear of Sexual Inadequacy

Perhaps not surprisingly, the father of dream interpretation, Sigmund Freud, believed that if you dream of your teeth falling out, it has to do with sex. Specifically, it is a sign of fear of sexual inadequacy because teeth are used in all stages of the sexual process from flirting and attracting a mate to their use in sexual interaction such as kissing. So depending on other cues in the dream, Freud believed that this common dream symbol likely meant fears related to sex such as loss of sexual attractiveness and insufficient sexual function.

When Your Teeth Fall Out in Dreams

Not all dreams are symbolic. Dreams can, in fact, be quite literal as they allow you to process your memories from the day you just had. So if you are experiencing dental problems in real life and you have a dream of your teeth falling out, look no further than the obvious. However, dreams can also be extremely symbolic and provide insight into what's going on in your subconscious mind. Therefore, if there's no real life reason why you'd have concerns about your teeth, then it's time to look beyond the literal to the symbolic meanings of this very common type of dream.

What Does It Mean When Teeth Are Falling Out in a Dream?