Any Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth for Favorite Daughter?

4 09 2009

Guess what we’re doing today?
Hint: it’s surgery under anesthesia and shockingly, have-to-charge it-and-pay-it-off-over-time expensive (thousands of dollars) and all out of pocket, not a dime covered by our already very expensive health insurance plan.

I shouldn’t complain though. Favorite Daughter has the leading role in this life drama. Her dad and I just support her while she rises to its challenges and makes the roles her own. 🙂

Being me, I’ve been wondering about the evolution of wisdom teeth. FavD tells me that they were once important because by the teen years, cavefolk had knocked out or otherwise rotted away several other teeth. Wisdom teeth came in years after all the other teeth, and grew inward to help move remaining teeth to the front so effective chewing could be maintained a few more years. Now that all our teeth stay in the mouth, there’s no need nor any room for wisdom teeth — and teenhood surely no longer equates to older and wiser under modern life expectancy 😉 — so they’ve gone from being natural denture to natural dysfunction.

She has no idea where she got this idea and I have no idea whether it’s scientific or just a good story. Maybe someone has already studied this and other Thinking Parents out there can enlighten me? — but for the moment I think I’ll just think about it. Assuming for the moment it’s true and following it down one possible path of logic, does the stereotypically smaller mouth of females rather than female vanity, explain why (I perceive that) more girls than boys wind up needing braces and subsequent wisdom tooth extraction? Is that perception even correct? Things I will ponder in the waiting room and not look up until later, because I need something to think about for a couple of hours to distract me. . .

So wish her luck this afternoon, or “break a leg” in her leading role, or whatever! (But please, no conspicuous creationist praying that her impacted wisdom teeth will just miraculously dissolve, because that makes no sense concurrent with claiming god purposely created wisdom teeth to NOT work from the beginning, and I believe not even a caveman mentality really believes that today, even when they claim to . . .)

p.s. the perfect time to use the tag “from the MOUTHS of babes” right? A little nervous mom humor . . .

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21 responses

4 09 2009
COD

According to Wikipedia, it’s more of a leftover from when the human skull was larger and we had room for the teeth. The larger flat surfaces of the wisdom teeth were useful for grinding up plant material that would have been a staple of diet back then.

4 09 2009
JJ

Plant material? Then FavD definitely doesn’t need them. She’s barely on speaking terms with vegetables . . .

4 09 2009
JJ

It was a good day for her, a tough day for me. The worst part was the pharmacy afterward, for her pain, nausea and other prescriptions. I had to channel the tea party protesters to get what she needed, by the end of the hour I spent there!

4 09 2009
Crimson Wife

The creationists’ claim is that humans today mature faster than in earlier times and therefore our facial bones today lack sufficient growth time before wisdom teeth come in. For a longer explanation see the full article here.

We do know that the onset of puberty has declined pretty dramatically as nutrition has improved. So it’s not a totally implausible argument. But I’m not totally convinced it’s the true explanation.

4 09 2009
JJ

So our skulls are smaller now and maturing faster? Hmmm. . .

4 09 2009
Nance Confer

So they just make shit up when it doesn’t fit their story?

Sorry you — and FavD — had to go through this, JJ. I hope you are sipping some nice wine while FavD recovers. 🙂

Nance

4 09 2009
JJ

😀
You know me so well!

Yes, after I got off the phone with the Publix pharmacy manager (he sounded like a kid and I told him six different ideas he could consider to manage things better so customers wouldn’t go ballistic on him like I did today) I did indeed break out the wine. . .

But it’s okay because FavD is doing great, no nausea, no pain, not much bleeding and she apparently tolerates anesthesia much better than I do, which was my first concern. And her dad is back from a business trip (and brought home chocolate smoothies for both kids) and the car didn’t break down, and they didn’t reject my credit card for the massive bill — really, what more can you ask for with your wine and motherhood? 🙂

4 09 2009
Kim

There are actually a decent percetage of the population that are no longer born with wisdom teeth because of evolution. I only have 3.

Hope your girl feels better soon!

4 09 2009
JJ

Thanks Kim. 🙂
And I just visited your place to see what was new, hope the same for your little guy and what an AMAZING nude piano-man portrait!

5 09 2009
COD

I put off having my wisdom teeth removed until my 30s. I was pretty much back to normal 24 hours later.

5 09 2009
Meg

Give that my daughter’s grandmother (on Hubby’s side) got her period at EIGHT, and Girl didn’t get her’s until TEN, I have a big problem with the “we’re getting it earlier theory.”

5 09 2009
Kim

My husband’s mother got hers at 10–which seems crazy early to me. So she was 10 around 1940. I always wondered if the early periods could be due to our prosperous life of leisure. We know that girls who are very active (like track, gymnastics for instance) get their periods later. Could the extra work of a rural lifestyle have contributed to getting periods later?

5 09 2009
JJ

Wisdom teeth and age of puberty? I confess I don’t see the connection.

6 09 2009
boremetotears

CW:

creationists claims… (and)… the full article (linked).

Laughing hysterically at oral surgeons making kids watch videos on human evolution! Imagine going to all the trouble of homeschooling to protect your children from evolution, only to take them to the dentist, who undoes all of your hard work in a single afternoon! Damn!

6 09 2009
boremetotears

re: cavefolk having rotted away teeth.

I may have read on this topic during apologetics school 😀

I don’t know about wisdom teeth specifically, but I do remember that the early decendents of Adam and Eve had great DNA; it only started to deteriorate post-Fall, remember? For this reason, Eve and Cain were able to bear healthy children. It’s also why successive generations lived well into their 900’s – and cavefolk had great teeth.

I hope this helps.

6 09 2009
boremetotears

oh, yeah… the plant and animal DNA was better too, so you didn’t get cavities from the food.

I’ll come back if I think of anything else.

6 09 2009
JJ

A veritable fount of knowledge I am SURE that I wouldn’t find elsewhere! 😉

6 09 2009
JJ

So in this power of story, wisdom teeth extraction and cavities (and periods and puberty itself?) all are part of god’s elaborate eternal Chinese menu of punishments for Eve’s forbidden knowledge, therefore really human fault. . .I remember the president’s quote when he was still a candidate, about not wanting his daughters “punished” with disease, or delivering a baby too young and unplanned.

(Maybe THAT’s why they really won’t let him near the kids in school, because he knows the story’s power too well, recognizes all that as punishment perpetuated by ignorant humans like Eve in the garden? I could be onto something here.)

Anyway, as we ponder the reasoning and necessity of which divinely designed pains are inflicted on our kids at which ages, hoping to avoid even worse, we might as well throw in circumcision.

In sin-and-sex mythology, it avoids the horror of masturbation pleasure; in science-and-sex research, it may avoid HIV-AIDS. So it seems our modern views of both sin and science in circumcision have been, um, evolving . . .

6 09 2009
JJ

Oregon Supreme Court rules 12-year-old boy should be consulted about circumcision

AP Worldstream | January 25, 2008| SARAH SKIDMORE | Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

The wishes of a 12-year-old boy should be considered in a dispute between his divorced parents about whether he should be circumcised, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The father, James Boldt, converted to Judaism in 2004 and wants the boy to be circumcised as part of the faith. The mother, Lia Boldt, appealed to the high court, saying the operation could harm her son physically and psychologically.

The state Supreme Court ruled that earlier court decisions failed to determine whether the boy wanted the circumcision, as his father contended, or opposed it, as his [mother contended]…

So what if he were a she, and a pregnant 12-year-old with religiously contentious parents? Force parents and child to follow the fundamentalist’s religious dictates under theocratic law, or actually allow some of that good old conservative American freedom from government intrusion (even by free speech and choice options) into private medical decisions?

6 09 2009
Crimson Wife

I don’t have access to the full text, but here’s an excerpt from an article in the medical journal Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health:

“Over the past 150 years, the age of puberty onset has fallen substantially across many developed countries. Although trends are apparent in both sexes, the evidence in females (where biological markers are clearer) suggests that, for instance, in northern Europe the age at menarche (first menstruation) fell during the 1800s, then further reduced by up to 3 years over the last century.”

Wikipedia claims that the average age of menarche in the mid-19th century was 16.5-17. Today the average age is 12.5. That’s a big difference!

I wasn’t able to find a good non-technical explanation of the impact of puberty on bone maturation in a quick Google search. But anecdotally, the girls I know who hit puberty on the earlier side wound up shorter than the ones who developed on the later side.

6 09 2009
JJ

LMAO – I can (anecdotally of course) debunk that one all by myself. Pushing six foot at age 10 and entering puberty at the same time.

And that was in the 1960s. Mid-twentieth century, not exactly current!

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