Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)   Read More

Toothless: What’s it Like to be Totally Toothless?

  1. Home
  2. Dental Articles
  3. Dental Implants Articles
  4. Toothless: What’s it Like to be Totally Toothless?

Toothless: What’s it Like to be Totally Toothless?

  1. Home
  2. Dental Articles
  3. Dental Implants Articles
  4. Toothless: What’s it Like to be Totally Toothless?
Toothless: What’s It Like To Be Totally Toothless In Brisbane, Wavell Heights, Clayfield At Sure Dental

Toothless is the name of a little dragon in the kid’s movie, How To Train Your Dragon. Apparently, the character got this name because he had no teeth at the beginning of the story. Toothless, then, in this context, that of a dragon having no teeth, is a cute thing. Human beings, however, do not find the whole toothless concept an endearing one, especially not for adults within our species. The very idea of a mouth without any teeth is anathema to many of us. Do you know anyone who is toothless: have you ever asked them what it’s like to be totally toothless?

The History Of Those Without Teeth

Culturally, we usually associate those lacking teeth with extreme old age and/or poverty. Images of shapeless mouths and slack jaws beneath hairless craniums staring out at us from black and white photographs and old footage bespeak of our past. A past where these people were left to grow old without assistance from the state in the form of welfare. A past where ancient crones in their wrinkled glory smiled toothlessly at cameras aimed at them. A past where charitable dental relief was not on the menu for these elderly members of our communities. Dentures in the past were often only available for those who could afford them. And dental implants were the stuff of fantasy, much like the character Toothless: an impossible dream.

Human Culture & The Role Of Smiling Teeth

Teeth are a cultural norm in the human playbook. Something like the expectation of having hair atop your head, but baldness, although, a little out of the ordinary, is more often seen than the state of toothlessness. Displaying one’s teeth in a smile or grimace is a very human thing to do. Smiles open doors and hearts. Food court smiles, hopefully, open purses and wallets. Come hither and be assured of safe conduct by the smile upon my face. Those exposed teeth, the whiter and brighter the better, impart a timeless message of hospitality to the recipient. The toothless smile, however, is a horror show in slow motion for the young and beautiful among us.

“Smiling certainly seems built into our nature. No less an authority than Darwin, whose 1872 book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals is considered a foundational text of smiling research, proposed that facial expressions are universal products of human evolution rather than unique lessons of one’s culture. The zygomatic major has a long evolutionary history, says expression researcher Jeffrey Cohn of the University of Pittsburgh, and facial muscles used for smiling are found in all humans. “There’s good evidence that the motor routine involved in smiling is inborn,” says Cohn. “The hardware is there.” “
Psychological Science

What It Is Like To Be Toothless

Very few toothless people smile a lot. Even those with more remaining teeth than gummy gaps are reticent about smiling in public. Dentists know this, of course, and for some it was one of the reasons they went into dentistry in the first place. Curing the toothless among us is no mean foundational quest. Toothless: What’s it truly like to be totally toothless? The act of eating is a far more limited activity when one is without teeth. What you can eat is profoundly reduced in scope. Soups and soft foods are invariably on the menu for the remainder of one’s years. A lot more sucking than any real chewing is the upshot of the toothless state. The tongue spends more idle time sensing the blank spaces within one’s mouth, where formerly teeth used to reside. The partitions have come down and your tongue can roam far and wide within the confines of your oral cavity. It is a brave new world inside the mouth of the toothless.

The Psychology of Toothless-Ness

Teeth represent vigour and spunk to human beings, as they probably do to our great ape cousins. To be able to bite into something is a powerful sensation and it produces hormones and neurotransmitters like adrenaline and endorphins within us. Hunger can spark stress, which releases epinephrine and cortisol. Our appetite for love, sex, and food is full of endorphins, especially when satiated. Dopamine is another neurotransmitter released when we eat delicious foods and which makes us feel good.

“In the short term, stress can shut down appetite. The nervous system sends messages to the adrenal glands atop the kidneys to pump out the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). Epinephrine helps trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, a revved-up physiological state that temporarily puts eating on hold. But if stress persists, it’s a different story. The adrenal glands release another hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general, including the motivation to eat. Once a stressful episode is over, cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress doesn’t go away — or if a person’s stress response gets stuck in the “on” position — cortisol may stay elevated.”
Harvard Health

Human biology is a complex stew, as you can observe from the information above and our understanding of it has increased hugely in recent years. Everything has multiple effects on everything else within us. Things like teeth are not just hardened bits of enamel, as they have wide ranging ramifications within the human system.

“Your teeth contain the hardest substance in the human body — your enamel. Bones aren’t quite as hard as enamel, but they rank closely on the hardness scale. Other parts of your body (like muscles, ligaments, and tendons) are incredibly strong, but don’t come close to the mineral-based tissue in your teeth and bones.”

Dreaming Of Toothless-Ness

Hands up if you have had the dream or nightmare where all your teeth fall out? I have experienced this very real feeling dream multiple times and it is a frightening time.

“If you’ve had a dream like this, you’re not alone. Research exploring common dream themes tells us that 39% of the population has experienced dreams about their teeth falling out, rotting, or breaking Recurrent teeth dreams are reported by 16.2% of sleepers, and 8.2% report having teeth dreams regularly.”
– National Library of Medicine

Carl Jung, the famous pioneering psychologist, interpreted that this dream indicated an emergence of a new way of dealing with things in one’s life, according to material contained in his published letters to clients. Teeth represented the way in which apes held onto things and losing these teeth in your dream, symbolically heralded giving birth to something new within oneself. For every new thing that emerges, a death must come before it, of course, to make room for the new. Thus, the teeth falling out and the helpless feeling that accompanies it within the dream. I suppose the positive takeaway from this is to focus on the space created within, rather than what has fallen away. It is a stage, as are the baby teeth we have and lose prior to our adult teeth emerging. Wisdom teeth are, also, called our third molars, as they come most commonly in our late teens and early twenties.

The Dragon Crone

Toothless the dragon does get teeth as he too grows older in the story. The crone, however, does not receive a further set of natural teeth. She or he (interestingly there is no male equivalent of crone) must make do with the space created or turn to artificial teeth for succour. Dentures have been around for some time, with the Etruscans employing them as far back as 700 BCE. Most civilisations have had a go at manufacturing false teeth out of some sort of appropriate material, invariably for the rich and powerful within their kingdom or tribe. Ivory was popular, but probably not with elephants. Hardened rubber or vulcanite was the new black in the 19C. Gold was used for the very wealthy wishing to make a statement. Resins and plastics have been in vogue through the 20C and into the 21C. You can now get permanently screwed in dentures in addition to portable false teeth.

The Meaning Of Toothless-Ness

Dreams of toothlessness are not pleasant. The reality of being toothless is, perhaps, far from ideal, but like all things – it is what it is. Dentists can help if you find yourself in this state. Totally toothless – sounds like the musical version of a kid’s movie! Perhaps, a cute dragon is our best way to comprehend such an unacceptable state for the vigorous among us. Beautiful white teeth are highly valued cosmetically within our culture and I cannot see toothlessness catching on anytime soon. Can you?


The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. Sure Dental does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the content.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional personal diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental or medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read or seen on the Site.

Services We Mentioned:

Related Articles

Ready to get started?

Just fill in this form and we will be in touch

This team honestly does such a great job. It’s the first time I have felt truthfully informed about my ‘whole of mouth’ picture. From start to finish they treat you with respect and are committed to achieving life long results. Could not have asked for anything else.

Bobby M


I’ve been coming to Sure Dental for many years and have always been thrilled with their patient care, wonderful customer service and proactive approach to my oral health. It is always a pleasure coming here, their staff are fantastic and I am completely confident that my teeth are in great hands.

Christopher J.