Thanks to a Texas Orthodontist, Cabbage Patch Kids Can Now Be Dressed to the Teeth—with Braces

updated 05/27/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/27/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Brace yourselves, grown-ups. In case you were wondering just how wired-up children are about their Cabbage Patch Kids, here's a mouthful to chew on. When Dr. Clay Ellis, 31, an Arlington, Texas orthodontist, puts braces on his young patients' teeth, he also glues some light metal onto the mouths of those chubby-cheeked toys that come along for the visit. After all, dolls can have overbites too.

All this began back in March when Ellis' 8-year-old daughter, Jennifer, confessed she was afraid to have her daddy fit her for braces. Like some 20 million other little girls across the country, Jennifer and her younger sister, Courtney, 4, have become inseparable from their Cabbage Patch dolls. They dress like them, talk, sleep and eat with them. "I heard Jennifer telling her doll on a number of occasions how important it was to brush her teeth," Ellis says. "So, I figured, why not?"

The next reluctant young lady with crooked teeth in the chair also turned enthusiastic when Ellis suggested that he brace her and her doll. She and her Cabbage Patch were the hit of the next Brownie Scout meeting. "Pretty soon," says Ellis, "the phone started ringing. I'd go to neighborhood softball games, and people would approach me asking for appointments for their kids' dolls."

Ellis has worn braces himself for the past year (as a corrective measure for incomplete treatment as an adolescent). He doesn't charge his patients to wire their Cabbage Patch Kids, but nonpatients who want to have their dolls "outfitted" must cough up $20 (the cost of the metal). The four units of metal are kept in place with Super Glue. And at checkup time, the dolls come back for a peek too. In two months Ellis has already fitted more than 150 dolls. A few weeks ago an athletic young man came by to ask Ellis if he could fix up his girlfriend's Cabbage Patch with braces. Oh, embrace-able you!

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