Sleep Talk and Teeth

One of the most unexpected side-effects of the Invisalign treatment I’ve been having has been a dramatic increase in the number of “OMG, my teeth are all falling out!” nightmares I usually have: in fact, I’ve gone from maybe one per month to one every couple of days, which is, er, fun. (Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those, “Look, here’s a really long explanation of a dream I had last night!” stories, which always involve some kind of kerrazy, wacky shenanigans and are as totally dull to hear about as they are bizarre to experience. “And then the elephant turned into a phone box! And the phone box was my teeth!”) I also wake up gagging every morning now. Hey, this is one of my best opening paragraphs ever, isn’t it?

(I’ve read that dreams about your teeth falling out symbolize your feelings of powerlessness. I guess that could be true – I mean, I AM pretty powerless – but I’ve always suspected it just happens because losing your teeth as a child is actually a pretty traumatic thing to go through. Seriously, parts of your body are in the process of dropping off: that has to affect you in some way, surely? And sure, your conscious mind may be thinking, “Hey, another one down! I wonder what the tooth fairy will give me for this bad boy?” but your unconscious mind has to be thinking, “WHOA! Parts of the body are FALLING OFF! I will never forget this, EVER, and many years from now, when she has long since forgotten all about it, I will remind her of the horror through the medium of a dream!” And, obviously, in my case, the dreams could just mean that I’m having Invisalign treatment which is making my teeth move. It could just be that.)

The sleep-talking has also started up again, although I think that has more to do with my general state of mind than with the Invisalign. In fact, last night I woke Terry up to tell him, “Some rubbish about something in the living room.” Terry can’t remember any of the details about this, but apparently I told him that if he “watched the programme” he’d “learn more about it.”


What’s weird about these incidents is that I can normally remember them perfectly clearly when I wake up, because at some point during them I generally become aware that it’s “that thing again” and that I am, in fact, talking crap. I even apologise for it. A few nights ago, for instance, I woke Terry up by plucking repeatedly at his shoulder. When he opened his eyes and glared at me, I shied back in alarm and said:

“SPIDER! SPIDER! There’s a spider on your shoulder!”

(I had clearly seen this spider, by the way. It wasn’t a big one, but it had enormous legs and, well, I didn’t want it to finish whatever it was it was doing with Terry and move on to me. I guess we’re just lucky it was a spider, and not my more-usual, OMFG THERE IS A CRAB IN MY BED hallucination. I’m normally halfway down the hall before I “wake up” from that one, and even then, Terry has to ostentatiously “search” the bed before I’ll get back in. Those bed-dwelling crustaceans are just the pits, aren’t they?)

Terry continued to glare at me, unmoved. “No,” he said, “There’s not. NOT. Go back to sleep.”

“There WAS!” I insisted. “There was a spider on your shou…oh. I’m doing that thing again, aren’t I?”

Terry nodded.

“OK,” I said, “Sorry about that! Also: I realise it’s totally implausible, and that I’m just doing That Thing, but if you could just let me check again…”

Terry turned his back on me and went to sleep.

And I lay awake for about ten minutes thinking, “Spider on his shoulder! Spider on his shoulder! Oh my God, there was totally a spider! On! His! Shoulder!”

Then, last night? Last night I dreamt that Nigel was mowing his lawn while naked. That has nothing to do with sleep-talking, actually, but I thought I’d note it anyway…

(P.S. I created a Facebook page for this site: it actually seemed like a pretty weird thing to be doing for a personal blog, but I know I tend to use FB and Twitter more than RSS these days for the purposes of “following”, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt. You’ll find it here, and if you “like” the page, you’ll get updates from me on your Facebook wall. Now won’t that be fun?)

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  • Urgh, my husband does this. One night he woke me, literally screaming, that there was a huge spider one me. As we live in Australia I too started screaming, begging him to get it off me, imagining that I was about to be, at the very least, eaten alive. About 5 seconds into our crazy, screaming hysterics he suddenly very calmly, in a normal voice said “Actually, I think it was a dream”

    Ten minutes later as I lay there drenched in sweat and still shaking with shock and fear he rolled over, gave me a dismissive look and said “get over it and go back to sleep would you”…

    October 12, 2010
  • Steph


    My sister used to make noises in her sleep but they weren’t even intelligible, I would just walk past her room at night and hear her making vague moany/screamy sounds that scared the bejesus out of me (sample: ‘MmmmffargleARGLEFLARGLEBARGLE!’ I would be torn between rushing into her room and risking the possibility that she was just sleeping normally and I was disturbing her, or running away convinced that she was being eaten by a demon (I love my sister but, as a child, I did not love her enough to risk *also* being eaten. I was a mercenary young thing).
    Turns out? She was just randomly screaming for no reason, she doesn’t remember anything about it, and she fortunately stopped before we began sharing a bedroom…

    October 12, 2010
  • G.G.


    I dream about my teeth all the time! Recently I went through a bad bout of nightmares about wisdom tooth removal – four nights in a row, I swear. A lot of my tooth dreams include this really slow, gradual buildup of incredible pain starting in the roots of my teeth and spreading over my entire mouth, and after this happens a few times throughout the dream and increases in severity and when it reaches a point where even in the dream I feel like I absolutely can’t stand it anymore, my teeth just suddenly splinter and crack and basically explode in my mouth.

    My dentist just told me that apparently I grind my teeth. I feel like this explains a lot.

    October 12, 2010
  • Sandy


    My hubby talks quite a bit in his sleep….I keep a notebook by the bed to jot it all down for entertainment the next day as I can never remember it all. I did even get a dictaphone to aid me but it beeped too much when switching it on so I never used it. (OK…now that makes me sound weird!!)

    Most of my hubs sentences have lots of swearing in them, methinks he’s angry! LOL!

    My reoccuring dreams seem to be about toilets…they’re never good enough to use, too crowded etc etc, although lately my reoccuring dreams seem to be about bloomin’ camping! I’m camping at least 4 times a week at the moment!! It’s bad enough doing the real thing without dreaming about it constantly too!!

    October 13, 2010
    • Haha, that would be fantastic! When Terry was on dialysis, he used to sleep talk much more than he does now (he would often get out of bed and have whole conversations with me), and with much more clarity, and a few times I considered recording him in some way, because he always refused to believe what had happened when I told him about it the next morning!

      October 13, 2010
  • Many many years ago when I worked as a receptionist I once sat bolt upright in the middle of the night and said, in my best receptionist voice “I’m sorry, Tak’s not here at the moment, can I take a message?” then lay back down and went back to sleep. I only know this because my boyfriend told me about it the next morning.

    October 13, 2010
  • Nikki G


    Ugh. I have the teeth dreams as well. In my dreams, they break off right at the gum line and then grow back immediately after. I usually wake up clutching at my mouth to check to make sure they are all still there.

    October 14, 2010
  • Rock Hyrax


    I've only had those "teeth crumbling to pieces" dreams very rarely, but absolutely hate them (thought it is a nice relief to wake up and find a mouth full of happy teeth). Don't think I could bear having them every other night – do the braces come out soon at least?

    October 15, 2010
  • I have those teeth dreams all the time. They’re so incredibly distressing. Mind you, I have had tonnes of work on my teeth since I was little, so it’s understandable that my subconscious can’t stand to lose any more!

    October 17, 2010