Braces, long the symbol of nerds, geeks, mouth-breathers and others who dwell at the bottom of the high school food chain, have suddenly become trÃ¨s chic. Well, at least in certain parts of Thailand, Indonesia and Malayasia.
Many teens in Southeast Asia have been shelling out more than $100 for so-called black market braces, mouth gear that doesnâ€™t serve any function other than fashion â€” and status. While being a brace-face stateside might be a drag, real braces cost close to $1,200 in places like Bangkok, putting dental care far out of reach for the average family. As a result, braces have become a surprising status symbol.
Photo by Jason Regan.