Most teenagers hate hearing that they are going to need braces. Among other concerns, they worry that putting them on will hurt and they'll be teased by their peers. Although it seems more uncommon these days than not to see an adolescent without a mouth full of metal, this type of orthodontic treatment isn't usually that popular with teens – that is, unless you live in certain parts of Asia.
That's right. In various regions of countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, some adolescent male and females are paying more than $100 to have what has become known as black market braces. These phony brackets certainly don't straighten teeth because they are more designed to make a bold fashion statement than anything else.
Orthodontic treatment can cost upwards of $1,000 and so braces are unaffordable for many families in Asia. As such, a mouth filled with metal brackets has become a status symbol. Unfortunately, however, black market braces can cause some health problems. Because they aren't put on by a dental professional, pieces may come loose, crack teeth and inflame gums and sometimes even result in oral sores. Doesn't sound too fashionable, does it?
Federal governments such as the one in Thailand recognize the risk of fake braces and have instituted a punishment of six months in prison and a fine of more than $1,500 to anyone who sells or applies black market braces.
Although Asia certainly has made a name for itself as an emerging and modern fashion market, this is one trend that our fashion experts at online designer retailer Dellamoda.com say should have been left behind once the new year started.