Dental braces have always been considered as a medical necessity since having poorly aligned teeth can result in health issues such as cavities and jaw pain. It’s also a rite of passage for most children as orthodontists estimate that about 75 percent of kids need braces to fix their crooked teeth and improve the shape of their face. For decades, tweens and teens have been getting either metal braces or clear aligners to get a better smile, but this year, it appears that braces have become the hippest accessory of fashionistas worldwide.
New reports indicate that more adults are getting braces, and this trend has the TikTok crowd abuzz as Gen Z are now reportedly scrambling to get some hardware on their teeth, whether they need it or not. But how did this fad come about? More importantly, is it safe to get “fashion braces,” and are they as good as dental grade braces? If you’re thinking about getting braces for fun, here’s everything you need to know about this trend.

Braces as a Fashion Statement

Anyone who has ever worn braces knows that it takes time and commitment to achieve a flawless smile. Not only do you have to see your orthodontist every month for adjustments, but you also have to keep your braces extra clean, steer clear of sticky and hard foods, and deal with some mild discomfort. Moreover, you’ll need to be patient since, depending on the condition of your teeth, it’s likely that you’ll have to wear braces for more than a year. Fortunately, a skilled orthodontist can speed up the process by performing a surgical procedure known as an accelerated orthodontic treatment. By combining surgery and braces, the teeth can shift into position faster so you can have the desired results in a shorter period of time.
Most grown ups have a general idea of what it takes to wear braces, but that hasn’t stopped them from turning it into a style staple. Thanks to celebrities such as Coi Leray and Steve Lacy, dental braces have now become the ultimate fashion statement, with people requesting colorful or gold hardware to be affixed to their teeth. Some TikTok content creators, such as 18-year-old Chelsey Ochulo have even jumped on the trend as more people have become curious about it. It was reported that a viral video of the teen teaching people how to affix braces with glue and kitchen scissors has reached over 2 million views since it was posted in November last year. With such tutorials being viewed millions of times, combined with the availability of fashion braces in online shops, anyone can now sport a mouthful of gleaming metal, with or without dental flaws.

Are Fashion Braces Safe?

Conventional braces are designed to address certain dental issues, making them safe for those who need them. But since fashion braces are designed for aesthetic purposes, experts warn that they may be harmful to the wearer’s health. It has been found that these substandard braces may damage a person’s teeth, lips, gums, and supporting bones, and DIY brace-fixing practices may cause injury or an infection. There have also been two reported cases of teen death linked to fashion braces in Thailand as the braces contained toxic chemicals and were made in unsanitary environments.

Should You Get Dental Enhancements for Fashion?

Getting dental enhancements such as fashion braces, grills, and tooth gems has long been a part of certain cultures, and they do add an edge to any look. However, it’s important to know that they come with risks, and if they’re affixed by someone other than a dental professional, there’s always a chance that things may go awry. To be safe, it’s a good idea to only get braces if you really need them, and have them fixed by a skilled orthodontist. Meanwhile, those wearing conventional braces can make their hardware more fashionable by changing the color of their elastic bands, or adding brace accessories such as glitter strings.
Dental braces can help to give you a beautiful smile and improve your overall health. Think twice before getting fashion braces, and consult an orthodontist to know if you need dental improvements.