The dreams were almost always the same: My teeth were loose or falling out, or I had a huge wad of chewing gum in my mouth that I was unable to remove. The gum dreams were more stressful: I would be in a gum-inappropriate environment and the endless struggle to remove it was fruitless and embarrassing. Loose-tooth dreams just mean you are getting old. Everyone knows that. But I had always had these dreams, and the ones about the impossible-to-remove, taffylike gum debacle occurred more and more frequently.

Eventually, my teeth actually become loose, and I began trying to figure out why. I went to see my dentist, who advised me to see a gum doctor. This seemed almost funny, in light of the dream imagery I struggled with for so many years. Nothing seemed to be amiss, and I was advised to "watch it" and see if anything changed. The teeth stayed loose, nothing changed, the dreams continued. My back molars no longer met the way they should and there was noticeable shifting and wiggling.

Finally, I went to see another dentist who wiggled my teeth, then stepped back and cupped his chin with his hand. "Hmm," he said. "I have been wiggling teeth for many, many years and I have never seen this before. I wiggle one, and they both move. Something is going on here, and I think I know what."

He was right -- something was going on and had been for most of my life. An aggressive cyst was growing inside one of my maxillary cavities -- it was a benign sort of thing in that it wasn't malignant, but it was by no means harmless. It had slowly been gnawing away at the roots of two molars, growing undetected for all of my life. It was called an ameloblastoma and would have to come out before it did more damage.


Jennifer said...

I have that same dream but mine differs slightly. when I chew the gum. I can pull it out in wads until its almost all out of my mouth. One small piece is left stuck in between my teeth, I begin to chew again and the gum starts to grow. I start to pull the gum out and then my teeth fall out. When my teeth fall out it is painful. I eventually wake because I am so stressed over the whole situation.

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