how to deal with tree roots?

I've (seems like all of a sudden) had a bunch of big oak tree roots "surface". In so doing, they're a nuisance to mowing efforts.
I have some that are longitudinal, maybe 1-2 long, way out from the tree trunk.
Others are just seeming to emerge on the yard side of planter boxes around the trunks. They're coming out just on the outside of the landscape timers making up the planter box. These tend to be more knobby than longitudinal.
Some people tell me it isn't the roots emerging, but the ground around them either subsiding or eroding away. I dunno which it is, and don't care (at least I think I don't).
I do need to deal with 'em. The obvious solution is to get something like a stump grinder in and "plane" 'em down.
Anyone see any huge reason not to do this? If it will significantly damge the tree, then I won't do it. But, the question really is can I do that without it much hurting the tree?
Sure will help my mower decks not to have those obstacles there.
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I had (still have) some of the topsoil "settling" around a couple of my tree roots. I took some topsoil and added a few inches across the top (leveled and packed it) and that takes care of it. I add the soil in the Spring and the grass grows up without a problem.
(`._. rr ._.)

timers
longitudinal.
them
a
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-snip- You can chop those all out, Oak trees don't need them. Not a small job.
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