Survey: About half of teens think braces are embarrassing

About half of teenagers think wearing traditional braces is embarrassing, according to new survey results by Align Technology. The company commissioned the survey with Kelton Global to better understand the psyche of teens and their moms and also the impact of social media.

The Invisalign Teen Confidence survey included more than 3,500 U.S. teenagers ages 13 to 17 and more than 2,100 U.S. mothers of teens, along with an oversample of 101 mothers of teens who wear or have worn Invisalign clear aligners. The survey addressed key teen issues such as teasing, peer pressure, and self-confidence.

The survey found that most teens felt their appearance influenced their popularity (94%), but less than half of teens thought traditional braces were embarrassing (41%). Other results include the following:

  • 57% of teens were embarrassed to have crooked teeth.
  • 92% of teens said that wearing metal braces would keep them from fitting in.
  • 54% of teens felt their life would be better without social media.
  • 40% feel their appearance is being judged more closely on social media than in person.

Align is offering a free interactive pocket guide, titled "Unbrace Teen Confidence," that provides information for parents on what they can do to help build kids' self-confidence. Invisalign Teen is donating $1 for every click, share, and download of the guide to, an organization that builds confidence in young people and drives positive change.

"We realized that the Teen Confidence Study exposed some surprising and interesting facts that were important to share and explore further," stated John Graham, chief medical officer at Align Technology, in a press release. "The 'Unbrace Teen Confidence' campaign aims to open up dialog between moms and their teens as we do our part to support the larger discussion among experts and organizations committed to instilling confidence in youth."

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