nightmares of toothless gummies

I lose count just how many times I’ve dreamt of my teeth falling out. It is my most recursive nightmare, and also the only one that leaves me trembling in fear when I wake each and every time.

Last night, while enjoying a rare and much-anticipated dinner meet-up with some of my best friends from childhood, I started to notice a strange sensation – my front teeth felt loose and shaky, much like how my milk teeth did when I was around 8 or so. Caught up in lighthearted conversation, I thought nothing of it, assuming it would go away in time, as most ailments do, but alas… one by one, my teeth began to loosen and pop out of their sockets, leaving a familiar metallic taste of fresh blood in their wake.

Embarrassed beyond belief, I covered my mouth with one hand and muttered a muffled sounding ‘excuse me’ before running to the bathroom. I was bleeding profusely from my gums and over the public toilet sink, I spit out into my palms a whole dollop of blood, saliva and three of my teeth: two incisors and a premolar. (The latter was specifically the one that in reality had actually been giving me a really bad toothache for days on end.) Shit, shit, shit… I tried picking the premolar up and roughly jamming it back in place in my upper jaw, but in the delirious state I was in, I could barely figure out which direction it was supposed to face or which hole it was supposed to go into even. A sharp pang of pain followed, and fresh blood spurted from the deepened wound. My fingers trembling from the shock, I carelessly dropped it. A familiar ‘tong, tong, tong’ sounded… My tooth was banging against the drainage pipes on its way down… Shit. I was bloodied up mess.

I shot out of bed at six in the morning, way before my alarm clock was set to go off.

You’d think I’d be so accustomed to this dream occurring by now that I’d soon enough realise that it’s all taking place in my mind, but somehow or other, I get caught off guard each time. My face buried in my pillow, I’d quickly push off my retainers with my tongue (at least I’d do that for my lower set, I haven’t yet figured out how to for the upper) before running my tongue past each tooth, double confirming that they’re still where they’re supposed to be. I’d then run to the bathroom to take off my upper set of retainers and do the exact same thing. Sometimes, my gums would be bleeding slightly because of how tight my retainers are, but I’d be, for the most part, shaken but fine.

I think it’s related to an insecurity about one’s physical appearances, this dream of mine – at least, that’s what multiple Google searches of dream interpretations have told me. Supposedly, this kind of nightmare in part reflects anxieties about one’s appearance and how others perceive oneself. It’s especially related to getting older and feeling more and more unattractive and unfeminine as a result, and it’s one of the most common nightmares people get.

Here’s how messed up my teeth were before I got my braces at age 15 – they were a real source of insecurity for me at the time, because of how weird and overlappy they were. I don’t even remember what it was like having grown up with such a weird set of teeth anymore!

Sometimes our subconscious mind seems to be telling us things which our conscious mind remains completely ignorant of. Perhaps at this juncture in my life, I’ve been really afraid of changes in my routine and appearance, and so, have been harbouring a lot of related stresses. Change is exciting, but it can also be really unnerving and scary in many other ways.

On the bright side, I suppose… though I keep getting nightmares like this, they remain good reminders for me to take better care of mental and physical health (aka my teeth… I called the dentist about my toothache the day after).

What kinda nightmares are most familiar to you?

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