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Tonsil Stones Specialist

Lake Grove ENT

Board Certified Otolaryngologist & Otolaryngologic Allergy located in Lake Oswego, OR

While tonsil stones are usually no cause for concern, they can cause bad breath and other uncomfortable symptoms. The team at Lake Grove ENT in Lake Oswego, Oregon, offers knowledgeable assessment and expert treatment of your tonsil stones to keep your tonsils and throat as healthy as possible. If you suspect you may have tonsil stones, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Tonsil Stones Q & A

What are tonsil stones? 

Tonsil stones are a collection of hardened material made of debris collected in the back of the throat. Bits of food, bacteria, dead cells, and mucus accumulate in the folds of the tonsils, bond together, and calcify. That causes a further collection of bacteria and could put you at risk for tonsillitis. 

Tonsil stones can range in size from a grain of rice to the size of a grape. Most tonsil stones fall down the back of the throat and dissolve in the stomach. The condition is not severe and may not need treatment unless you have uncomfortable or inconvenient symptoms or develop an infection. 

Someone with repeated cases of tonsillitis, chronic sinus issues, inflammation, or poor dental hygiene is more likely to have tonsil stones. To prevent tonsil stones, practice excellent oral hygiene and gargle with salt water after meals.

What are the symptoms of tonsil stones? 

Tonsil stones are quite common and typically don't cause significant symptoms. If you have several stones or your tonsil stones are large, you may experience: 

  • Abnormally bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Ear pain

You may notice white areas on your tonsils or feel swelling or debris in the back of your throat. If you have a large stone, you may have difficulty or irritation when swallowing. 

How are tonsil stones diagnosed?

Your Lake Grove ENT provider can diagnose your tonsil stones by visualizing your tonsils. They may recommend computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the most accurate diagnosis if you have several or large stones. 

What is the treatment for tonsil stones? 

Tonsil stones don't typically need treatment, but if your symptoms are affecting you significantly, your treatment plan may include: 

  • Antibiotics
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Cryptolysis, or laser removal 
  • Surgical removal 

If you have smaller stones, try gargling with salt water or remove the stones using a swab. However, upsetting the stones may cause a tonsil infection. If you think you have tonsil stones, it is best to get an evaluation by your Lake Grove ENT provider. 

If you suspect you have tonsil stones, call the office or schedule an appointment online with Lake Grove ENT today.