Tonsil Stones, also known as Tonsillolith are calcifications found on the crypts, or in the dents of the tonsils. Most of the time the stones go unnoticed and will only be accidently discovered with x-rays or CT Scans.
- Tonsil stones can be asymptomatic
- Possible symptoms include pain when swallowing and the sensation of a foreign body
- These occur more often in adults that they do in kids
- Smaller stones do not usually cause and problems
- The exact causes of tonsil stones is unknown
- They have been associated with certain bacteria and certain functions of the salivary gland
- The condition is said to affect around 10% of the population and are common in young adulthood
How to Check for Tonsil Stones
Some of the symptoms of the tonsil stones include:
- Metallic or bad taste in back of mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bad breath – most of the people who have tonsil stones exhibit halitosis
- Recurrent tonsillitis
- White debris
- Observable white spot on tonsils
Depending on their position, the stones can usually be seen with an oral exam.
Larger stones can be mistaken for tonsil tumors or tonsil abscess upon first inspection.
Removing Tonsil Stones
The stone is often removed manually. There are a number of ways to go about it, some of these ways include:
- Irrigation – an oral irrigator is used to dislodge the stone. The irrigation has to be at low pressures so as to not damage the tonsils.
- Curettage – This is usually done for larger stones and may be coupled with irrigation methods.
- Laser Removal – Laser resurfacing helps to reduce the surface area of the tonsils and removes the crypts. This prevents the future appearance of stones.
- Tonsillectomy – removal of the tonsils, usually prescribed for patients who have recurrent infections.
Home Remedies for Tonsil Stones
- The stones do not typically require treatment as they are not likely to cause symptoms
- When the stones are superficial, they can be removed at home, but bigger stones and the deeply set ones are going to require a visit to the doctor.
How to Prevent Tonsil Stones
- Since the exact cause of tonsil stones is not know, there is no known way to prevent them from occurring.
- Adults who have recurrent tonsillitis can have tonsillectomy to prevent future infections and also prevent tonsil stones. In the same manner, laser treatment can also be used to prevent tonsil stones from forming.