Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Wisdom Of Teeth

"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil." That quote has been attributed to Cicero, a Roman statesman and philosopher. Cicero is widely considered to be one of Rome's greatest orators. I had an experience this week that made me start thinking about wisdom.

For the past few weeks I have had a very painful toothache. I went to the dentist on Tuesday. After taking x-rays, he told me that second molar on the lower left was in bad shape. One of the reasons that it had deteriorated was because it was up against my "wisdom tooth". He recommended that I have both teeth pulled.

Having the teeth pulled was quite an ordeal. The wisdom tooth was laying sideways, and the root had a hook that was in the bone. The procedure wasn't that painful, but the pulling, pushing, cutting, tugging and prying made it very uncomfortable. When the anesthetic wore off I was in a lot of pain.

While I was at home nursing a very sore mouth I started wondering why the third molars are called wisdom teeth, and why we have them. I found out that they are called wisdom teeth because usually they come in when a person is between age 17 and 21 or older; old enough to have supposedly gained some "wisdom". Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often they are misaligned and cause trouble.

I found the explanation of the term "wisdom teeth" to be somewhat amusing. 17 to 21 year olds aren't the first age group that I think of when I think of wisdom. Wisdom comes with experience. The dictionary definition of wisdom is "the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; discernment, or insight.

We to often aren't sure of the difference between wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. There is some overlapping of the definitions. Wisdom is knowledge with understanding. Anyone can get knowledge, but understanding is another thing. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:13, "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding".

I crave knowledge. I am curious about so many different things, and want to learn about them. It is interesting to me to see all the different "facts" that you can find on a given topic. Sorting through the "facts" can make understanding an almost impossible task.

1 Corinthians 1:19-20 tells us "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world"?

I want to make sure that in my quest for knowledge that I look to God for understanding.

I am very involved in my local Relay For Life. You can view my Relay For Life Blog here.


  1. Ouch! I've had to have two wisdom teeth pulled, it's no fun at all! Hope you are on the mend.

  2. I have had all my wisdom teeth pulled. And my daughter never had any. The dentist said she msut be fully the analogy you have used here. It's true.

  3. Your mentioned of "wisdom" brought me to several ABC Wednesday's post of Z in for Zen. The essence of of Zen is to attain wisdom. More practically, the wisdom helping us choosing what is right and what is wrong.

  4. I only had two wisdom tooth grown and they are both extracted cause they did not grow the right way. Guess the tooth is not wise at all to have not grow

  5. I had all of mine out when I was nineteen, since they were impacted. I was knocked out, so I didn't feel a thing. Ate soft foods afterwards....

  6. Hope you are feeling better! Dr. Hubby HATES going to the dentist...he almost needs a valium to get a cleaning!

  7. Never had any wisdom teeth, so you know where that leaves me on the wisdom express..............!!!!

  8. I love coming here and learning new things : ) I was SO excited to see you at I heart faces. I meant to tell you about it. You have such great pictures! I hope you do it again. I know you will win : ).

    PS I hope you feel better!

  9. I had mine all removed when I was a teen and while I was asleep! They were impacted and growing sideways and I remember them being so painful trying to grow in...
    I remember having stitches and eating nothing but Jello for days! LOL

    Hope you feel better quick!


  10. I don't think I ever did get my wisdom teeth - literally or metaphorically!!

    Just wondering - would you care to do a Sunday Roast?

  11. Loved how you linked tooth pain to our need for wisdom!

    May God keep us seeking...

  12. Extraction of wisdom tooth was painful foe me too. Two more are left and how I am dreading it.

  13. Auch. I had mine pulled when I was in my twenties, very painful! I had two big cheeks for three days, looked like I had mumps ó_Ô

  14. and let's not forget that we can never be wise enough...

  15. Pssst I have an award for you to pick up on my blog.

    You always post something interesting that also has a good message included.