Thoughts

Winter 2009

Minor Site Fix

Site News / January 31st

I believe I have corrected a bug where the last post time wasn't updated when I posted something, but would be updated when I modified something. Having this fixed means that anyone relying on the date in the menu to know when I've updated will now see accurate information. This was apparently caused by a line of code getting the last post time that was "less" than "now". I have now set it to update when the post time is less than or equal to now. Programming is really frustrating at times.

Dental Procrastination On-track to Pay Off

Technology / January 7th

This is actually a technology story, but it has a personal aspect for me so I thought I'd start with that. Like many people, by the natural order I should have exceptionally crooked teeth. I blame the part of my heritage that stems from the British Isles, but whatever the cause I endured the common childhood trauma of braces to correct them for nearly six years. Surgery, extra teeth, a "palate expander" that can only be described as a glued in medieval torture device, regular orthodontist visits, and more all resulted in a fairly straight set of teeth by the time I hit my teens. I was given a permanent retainer, a wire glued to the back of the teeth in front, top and bottom.

After several years, either the cement wore down or the stress of my teeth attempting to return to their original position overpowered the retainer and it popped out. I, of course, never saw fit to replace it. Later, as my wisdom teeth came in, my teeth began an alarming shift out of their expensive and time-consuming line. Now, most people get their wisdom teeth pulled because unlike our ancestors we've figured out how to keep our adult teeth from rotting away, making these backup teeth unnecessary. However, I didn't go to the detist for about seven years, by which time they had come in fully, albeit in some slightly odd angles.

I got a retainer from the dentist to "hold the line" on my teeth so they don't further shift, but I of course am not particularly good about wearing it. There is the realization that if I had gotten my wisdom teeth out like most people, I probably wouldn't need it. However, I read a story in the Washington Post on the future of dentistry that in some small way vindicates my procrastination, as it has been discovered that wisdom teeth are a source of a variety of adult stem cells, and these will in the not-too-distant future, be used to grow new teeth, so that as we age into that part of life historically blighted with dentures, those of us with the, err, foresight to let our mouths grow free and wild will be able to get our rotten roots re-grown, replaced, and thus renewed. Now, if we can just find a way to keep them straight and white as well, I'll be set.