August 14, 2015
by DAVE MCGINN, The Globe and Mail
Laura Henry knew things were not okay with her 13-year-old son, Khaden. Like most parents, Henry is an expert at reading her child’s smile, studying each prideful beam and bashful grin for signs that he’s truly happy. And from looking at recent photos, Henry could tell that Khaden was self-conscious.
“All of his smiles were that closed-mouth smile,” says Henry, a sign language interpreter who lives in Whitby, Ont. “He wasn’t showing his teeth any more. Even his little selfies were closed-mouth smiles.”
Last year, the family’s dentist said Khaden would need braces to straighten his teeth and fix spacing issues. Henry and her husband delayed a bit because of the cost, but finally shelled out nearly $6,000 for the orthodontics last month. None of it was covered by insurance, making it a “huge hit” financially, Henry says, but what price can you put on a kid’s self-confidence?
Braces once carried a stigma among teens (“Hey, metal-mouth!”), a hangover from 1980s teen movies that portrayed them as only for nerds. But while Gen X’s image of a brace-face might still be a spitty Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club, their kids are currently enthralled by models such as Charlie James, a 17-year-old whose braces haven’t stopped him from walking runways for the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, and Kitty Hayes, also 17, whose face fashion bigwig Carine Roitfeld put on a recent magazine cover, train tracks and all.
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