Any of you who were subjected to orthodontia — as well as all the discomfort, embarrassment, and social gaffes that come along with the experience — might feel a little more than a toothache at this recent trend. Youth in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are shelling out $100 for sets of fake braces in wild designs and colors. Yes, fake braces.
Considering the fact that real braces cost at least ten times that, it seems that a mouthful of metal can be a sign of spending power: Western-style, rich-kid adolescence you can buy for yourself (perfect smile not included).
Ironically, you need fairly straight teeth in order to wear these one-size-fits-all accessories, which are typically installed at beauty salons or at home via DIY kits. And, obviously, these faux sets come with a slew of health hazards including infection, choking, and lead poisoning, all of which have led the Thai government to ban the production and sale of fake braces. That hasn't stopped the kids though; they've turned to black market websites and street stalls to get their sets.