Dream 511: Personal Loss
I am frequently asked about the meaning of losing teeth in a dream. I came across this extensive post by Jungian dream interpreter Jesamine Mello on the Quora website that tells you ninety percent of what you need to know:
“While it’s true that dreams about losing or breaking your teeth can illustrate anxiety or loss or insecurity, when you’re interpreting your dreams, you always have to ask, “why this image for anxiety, insecurity, loss?” Any number of images can mean the same thing. You could have an image of losing your hair, and that too, says something about appearance.
So, you first look at what teeth mean, both symbolically and biologically because over the eons of our evolution, it’s those aspects that make their imprint. Once we look at what teeth mean, then we look at what it could mean that you lose them.
In short, symbolically teeth are images of power and transformation. Biologically, they are necessary for digestion. In animals, teeth are displays of power, instruments of aggression and defense, as well as tools.
When we say something, “has teeth”, in reference to a law or something, then it means that law has the power to make people follow it. When something has “no teeth”, then it has no power. If a primitive loses his teeth, then he’s lost his power. If he wears the teeth of an animal or enemy, then he’s gained power.
So, in relation to power, dreams about losing teeth could mean that your insecurity comes from a power issue – what we’d call a complex in Jungian analysis. You’d have to ask what your relationship to power is. Do you need to assert yourself more or less? If you are overpowering or too aggressive, then the dream takes that from you and leaves you vulnerable. If you are already powerless, then the dream shows you how that looks. The dream is an attempt at balancing your attitude by drawing your attention to it.
In relation to digestion, teeth play a major role in breaking food down into smaller pieces, thus allowing us to digest and assimilate it, and then, use it for energy. Having no teeth in a dream could mean that you aren’t able to process or digest some experience in your life. It’s too much to take in, so to speak. In this case, maybe you need to learn to reflect more, break things down, take more time to reflect or consider something – in order to make it more digestible.
On the other hand, maybe you overthink – in which case you have worn out your teeth. In this case, learn to stop chewing and just swallow what happens. Let the natural course of digestion take its course. You can’t control everything.
We also say “bite down” on something in reference to “getting a grip” on it. The idea here would be an ability to sink your teeth into something”. To have no teeth, would mean an inability to focus or engage.
If your teeth are crumbling, then perhaps you hold on for too long.
Teeth are for gripping something – similar to what I just said. To lose them would be losing your grip. This could indicate a time to let go of something too long-held. That could be an attitude, a worn out belief system, or a relationship. You’d have to reflect on that.
And finally, losing teeth could very well point to some kind of initiatory transformation in your life. Think about all of the rituals related to children losing teeth. In primitive societies of Australia for example, teeth were ritually knocked to symbolize this kind of passage.”
My main comment is that, she mentions it briefly at the beginning, but tends to discount it because it is so common. The most common interpretation is that you have lost something of value to you, which could be a relationship, the death of a person, money, status, or even a personal quality. Your reaction to the loss is similar to the loss of a tooth. You don’t like it because you have lost something personal, but you will recover.
Dreams can help put teeth into your life at http://www.drstevenfox.com