What Teeth Aligners Does Walmart Carry?
Walmart doesn’t carry professional teeth aligners. Instead, they carry more generic mouthguards and night guards.
Over-the-counter orthodontic treatment with clear plastic aligners is extremely popular since consumers have a lot of control over their treatment. Some big-box stores like Walmart now offer devices that allege to be orthodontic aligners, but they are more like generic mouthguards, night guards, or devices that may help with clenching habits.
These devices are not designed to treat your misalignment specifically, and in some cases, they can do more harm than good.
What Are Over-the-Counter Aligners?
Over-the-counter aligners make up a booming industry. Several brands now allow you to place an order online for a kit to create impressions. A dental professional will examine and use these impressions to create a set of clear plastic aligners to improve the alignment of your teeth.
These aligners will arrive on your doorstep with instructions. Typically, between four and nine months later, you will have a smile you love.
Although many of these mail-order aligners are inexpensive, some people seek out even less expensive options to take care of their dental health. For example, the big-box store Walmart carries several brands of clear plastic aligners that promise to straighten your teeth; however, these products are not supervised by an orthodontist, nor are they tailored to your specific dental needs. This can cause more problems with your dental alignment over time.
Teeth Aligners vs. Night Guards or Mouth Guards
Teeth aligners are part of an orthodontic treatment plan intended to straighten or align your teeth. They are designed with the intention of moving teeth even though they can look similar to night guards or retainers.
Night guards are intended to protect the teeth, gums, and jaw from damage related to teeth grinding or clenching. Mouth guards aim to protect the teeth, gums, and mouth from damage related to sports or contact activities.
Night guards are worn at night, mouth guards are worn during specific activities, and teeth aligners are worn the majority of the day and night (about 22 hours per day).
Since night guards have to stand up to teeth grinding, they tend to be thicker and more durable than teeth aligner trays. Likewise, mouth guards are also thicker and sturdier since they are aiming to protect the teeth and mouth from impact in contact sports.
While teeth aligner trays offer some protection from teeth grinding, they aren’t tough enough to stand up to regular nightly use for this purpose. If you normally wear a night guard, you might be fine just wearing your aligner trays at night during your treatment plan. Since you switch out the trays every two weeks or so, you’ll be moving on to a new tray set by the time you grind through or wear down your current tray.
Ask your dentist and orthodontist about how to manage your situation. Teeth aligner trays, night guards, and mouth guards should all be fit by a dentist, orthodontist, or aligner treatment company.