A character wearing braces to signify them as being young and in that awkward puberty stage where they're still growing (usually under fourteen though older kids with these sort of braces aren't uncommon). Often the character looks gangly or Adorkable, but by the time they're removed they've grown into a more attractive and mature looking individual.
This is usually done in flashbacks. These are rarely Braces of Orthodontic Overkill but instead are more normal braces made to show that the character is either Hollywood Homely or that they are a Hollywood Nerd.
Is Truth in Television to an extent. Even if Hollywood tends to play this up a bit, braces are a common part of growing up, with about four million Americans at any given time undergoing some sort of orthodontic treatment, and about eighty percent of them being between the ages of six and eighteen. Of course, in the real world, braces can be worn at any age, meaning they are not just pubescent.
- A Song of Grumbling & Cotton Candy: Back in high school, Pizzazz was asked out by a girl with braces. She reacted negatively and made fun of her braces. That girl was her current girlfriend, Jerrica. Pizzazz says that she grew into herself since then.
- Erica from The Goldbergs is gorgeous now, but in middle school she was hapless nerd with braces that gave her a lisp. One episode had a series of accidents restore her previous look, including braces to fix a dislodged tooth.
- Whateley Universe: Mobius is first seen as a highschool freshman and has braces at that point.
- From Bye Bye Birdie, the song "How Lovely to Be A Woman":
When you're a skinny child of fifteen, wired with braces from ear to ear,You doubt that you will ever be appealing.Then Hallelujah! You are sixteen and the braces disappear,And your skin is smooth and clear, and you have that happy grown-up female feeling.
- In Life Is Strange, you can find a photo of a younger Max Caulfield (the protagonist) with braces.
- Darren from As Told by Ginger originally had Braces of Orthodontic Overkill but by the end of the first season they were removed. He instantly went from an average looking "nerd" to a popular Chick Magnet.
- Butt-Head. As the film shows, he has been wearing them for quite a few years, complete with retainers during his prepubescence.
- In middle school Kim from Kim Possible looked more gangly and immature. She also wore braces.
- Leela from Futurama is shown to have worn braces in a flashback to her childhood.
- Gravity Falls:
- Mabel Pines— she and Dipper are 12 years old during the summer when the show takes place, though only Mabel wears braces. Mabel is less concerned than Dipper is about "acting mature" (though she does show a lot of emotional maturity for her age). (Also: a photo flashback reveals she's had braces at least since she was 9 years old.)
- A flashback in one episode shows that Grunkle Stan also wore braces when he was a young teenager.
- Jimmy from Ed, Edd n Eddy has what appears to be a non-removable retainer, usually rendered as a featureless loop surrounding his head. Jimmy's voice is unusually high pitched, and he follows Ed's sister Sarah in much the same way a young child would.
- Luan Loud in The Loud House is 14 years old and wears braces, not of the Orthodontic Overkill variety, but they still make her out to be awkward. Also, a few-years-old photo shows that Lori also wore braces when she was approximately Luan's age.
- Of the many gangs inhabiting Motorcity, only the "Mama's Boys" seem to have access to an orthodontist as Junior, the leader, has a braces. (Though the whole gang looks like they could be in their late teens/ early 20's, their uniform includes backwards baseball caps and overalls, so they're definitely going for the "young and mischievous" look.)
- Eliza Thornberry of The Wild Thornberrys has braces and a massive overbite. When combined with her overlarge glasses and pigtails, she definitely gives off the "awkward youth" vibe.
- Toby from Trollhunters is the same age as Jim (approximately 16) but has braces to highlight his immaturity, awkwardness, and geekiness.