Removing Tonsil Stones: The Symptoms And Treatment

When it comes to one’s health, the only stones most people know about are kidney stones. But there are other stones that can be as painful. When bacteria or debris such as mucous and dead cells calcify at the back of one’s mouth on the tonsils, one is said to have tonsil stones, which are also called tonsilloliths.


Tonsils are designed to protect us from infections. Unfortunately, they can sometimes cause problems while trapping bacteria and other foreign materials that enter our system. The latter may end up getting trapped in pockets of fibrous tissue around the tonsils. These pockets of tissue develop over the years especially when one has experienced several infections of the tonsils. The trapped debris in combination with the salts from your saliva leads to calcification, and you end up with tonsil stones.


Symptoms of tonsil stones

It can be quite difficult to determine whether you have tonsil stones or not because they are usually not clearly visible to the human eye. You may even require a CT scan or x-ray to know for certain. When they are large though, they look like white or yellow stones and cause multiple symptoms. Bad breath is a key indicator, especially when it is present in conjunction with a tonsil infection. Sulfur compounds that emit a foul odor cause bad breath. A sore threat is another symptom of tonsilloliths. They can often make it quite difficult for you to swallow your food, and if they are big enough, it can be painful to even swallow liquids. And lastly, while swollen tonsils can sometimes be a symptom of another infection like tonsillitis, they usually accompany tonsilloliths.


Treatment of tonsil stones

There are a variety of ways to treat tonsilloliths and the appropriate method is selected depending on their size and the level of discomfort caused. If they are of miniscule size and cause no pain, they are usually left untreated. In most cases, people can treat them at home on their own. One of the ways to do this is by using cotton swabs and the like to dislodge the stones. As with any other infection involving your throat, gargling your mouth and throat with salt water that’s warm can be very soothing. It also serves as an effective disinfectant. Antibiotics can be prescribed to help bear with tonsilloliths, although they cannot dislodge the stones. When the tonsilloliths are quite large and cause considerable discomfort, a surgical procedure may be required to remove them. It is a fairly simple procedure though and a local anesthetic is used.


Prevention of tonsil stones

Some people unfortunately endure frequent cases of tonsilloliths due to tonsillitis. Tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure employed to remove one’s tonsils in the case of chronic tonsillitis. Undergoing this surgery would also eliminate future occurrences of tonsilloliths. It is a major procedure that requires general anesthesia. The patient usually takes a few days to recover, and may experience a sore throat and discomfort while swallowing until then.

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