What do our teeth really mean?
I am asking myself this question as I sit here just days after dental surgery. It was probably one of the most intense experiences of my life. My teeth and gums have been the weakness in my body since I was very young. I received quite brutal orthodontic treatment as a teenager and have been clashing and grinding my teeth in my sleep ever since. I also inherited a bacteria from my fathers side, which left me with a severe case of periodontitis. My father had his teeth removed at 50 and so did my older sister. And with the aftermath of each pregnancy and the softening of the bone matter, my own teeth began to move in different directions. They started to fall out, my gums began to recede, leading to intense nerve exposure, pain, and increased sensitivity. An expert periodontist told me that he had only seen such a severe case as mine in patients who had been diagnosed with AIDS. After a series of root canals and the removal of some lower teeth a few years ago, I now had to face the removal of teeth in my upper jaw.
I believe that until we experience some kind of pain in a certain area, we have no understanding of what that really means for us.
I thought my pain threshold was high but the quantity of anesthesia and needles that were necessary to numb the pain of the teeth extraction was so high that it was close to an overdose. Even with the most wonderful dental care from a dentist who offers energetic healing both before and after, and the loving hands of the nurse to hold, what I experienced this day was beyond the physical body.
With the extraction of each tooth I felt like a part of my soul was being ripped out. Tears trickled down the side of my face while I clutched my mala, made soft healing sounds, and held onto the nurses hand. Touching her was again the re-affirmation of the healing power of human touch. I was caressing her and stroking her, and then holding her hand so tightly as I let go of each tooth. There were eight in total. As I listened to the crunch of each tooth being wiggled, twisted and pulled out of the jaw bone, I could feel so deeply that each tooth carried a story of me, of my life, and pulling each one out was me letting go of built up pain and trauma … amongst memories of betrayal, deceit, anger, sadness, lies, disappointment, grief, and it felt like they all had to pass through me while I sat there for three hours with my mouth wide open with blood trickling out of the creases of my lips. I was stunned, shocked, and fragile, as I sat in silence in the car on my way home. When I got home I simply broke into a thousand pieces and cried and howled a deep cry that was not about my teeth. It was about all that they represent for me and the proof that our bodies store memories in every cell … our teeth are no exception. So I cried and cried. And I was held by two people that I trust, who allowed me to cry, to let go and who reminded me of the power of the breath.
If it were not necessary for my health I would not have chosen to go through this. But what I see is that it is yet another shedding of the layers that have kept me in survival, to help me to keep on going, and bite through the challenges of life. What we don’t realize is what our teeth metaphorically represent for us. Being the most dense matter of our body, our teeth are believed to have some kind of suppressed emotional energy that needs to be released. According to Chinese Medicine, each tooth lies on a specific meridian, which is related to a particular organ and a corresponding emotion. As I removed almost all of them, I had the full spectrum of emotions to go with the experience.
And then comes in the ego.
When I look into the mirror and I see my new set of teeth, I don’t recognize myself anymore. My whole face has changed from the insertion of a new set of teeth. I really had no idea that the teeth actually play such a major part in the way that our face is held together and formed. The cheekbones, the lips, and the whole facial structure and expressions are all interwoven with the placement of each tooth. So when I see myself I realize that I am looking at a new person. Who is she? Combined with the emotional letting go, there is also the physical letting go. It is the opportunity for rebirth on all levels. At the moment, speaking and chewing are concentrated events which demand a great deal of focus and awareness. They are actions that our bodies usually simply do, like a well-oiled machine, and we are not aware of the movements and coordination necessary to make them happen until that functioning breaks down.
Looking at the before and after photos, it is clear that my teeth were a complete mess and my new set of nicely 3D printed dentures really do paint a rather perfect version of me and my life. Hahaha … I have to say the gap between my two front teeth and my missing teeth did expose my inner witchy side and so now I am adjusting to a new kind of witchy look … one which, most importantly, helps me to regain my health and vitality again.
Everyday of our lives is an invitation to be born again …
But there are some moments on our journey of life which are pivotal and more defined in making space for bigger changes. Only we know those moments. They are unique to us and our life’s map. I am going through one right now, a transformation is taking place on all levels, and I stay curious and open to the unfolding of that. One thing I realize in this period of my life is that the compassion of the human heart and the support that is around me from friends and loved ones cannot be understated. We all have to walk our own path and nobody is going to save us from ourselves, but how blessed we are if we a few hands to hold while we do so.