Tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, are hard white or yellow formations that are produced at the back of the throat in the crevices of the tonsils. They are formed due to food getting trapped in the spaces between and within the lumps and spaces of the tonsils, and becoming calcified (which is what gives them their white and yellow appearance). Accumulation of large or many tonsilloliths can lead to bad breath as well as a sore throat that is quite irritating. Sometimes these tonsil stones can become dislodged and could make their way into your mouth, which is usually how people first discover them.
If you have an irritated throat due to tonsil stones, you should consider visiting a professional to have them cleared out. We recommend a Best ENT specialist in Lahore if you reside in the city.
There aren’t that many symptoms involved with having tonsil stones, and they don’t impact one’s health to warrant immediate treatment. However, the bad breath that comes along with a tonsil infection following the build-up of tonsilloliths can gravely affect one’s social life.
Another symptom is a sore throat, which may be due to the tonsil stone itself, or the infection that it might bring. This can also cause swelling.
As we’ve mentioned before, the tonsil stones might appear in your mouth, or may be very visible at the back of the throat depending on the shape and depth of the tonsils.
If the tonsil stone is large or in a particularly exposed area, it may be difficult to swallow, or irritating at the least. It may also cause pain in the ear if it is in contact with some of the nerves that are shared between the throat and the ear.
Before we get into treatment options for tonsil stones, let’s go over some of the things you can do to ensure that they don’t become a problem in the first place. These include:
- Keeping yourself properly hydrated.
- Keeping your teeth and oral cavity clean, making sure to floss and clean your tongue while brushing. Cleaning your tongue can reduce the chances of bacteria infecting the tonsils.
- Gargling regularly with salty water.
- Reducing smoking, if you are a regular smoker.
If tonsil stones are already an issue, here are some options for you to consider:
- Coughing and gargling with warm salt water can help dislodge present tonsil stones, allowing you to get rid of them through your mouth.
- Using gentle irrigation to wash out tonsil stones that are tightly lodged in crevices. You can use cheap syringes or an irrigation kit to help with this.
If tonsil stones are a chronic issue which is very severe, you can opt for one of these surgical options:
- Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis: This entails using a laser to remove the crypts where tonsil stones form. There is minimal discomfort, and the procedure is done under local anaesthetic.
- Coblation Cryptolysis: This, like the previous procedure, uses ionic salts that remove crypts. However, there is no burning sensation as in the previous operation.
- Tonsillectomy: This is the complete removal of the tonsils. This is only recommended for severe cases that could not be controlled by other methods.
Before you opt for any of these surgical options, we recommend you sit down and talk through them in depth with your physician. If you are in need of a professional in Islamabad that can guide you through these options, take a look at these Best ENT specialist in Islamabad.