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How to get rid of tonsil stones

Tonsil stones are nuisance. Patients do not like them and often GP's don't take the issue seriously, rarely referring patients to the ENT Department.

They can be self treated by the patients using picks and water jets, amongst other devices. However this is time consuming and can cause bleeding or trigger tonsillitis. Gargling with salt water or antiseptic does not seem to make much difference. In the end, the holes and cracks in the tonsils need to be treated, as this is where food is trapping and amusing tonsil stones to form.

A total NHS style tonsillectomy is an effective treatment for this, but is associated with severe pain and bleeding post operatively. This can go on for 4 weeks. Intracapsular partial laser tonsillectomy using local anaesthetic spray to numb the tonsils is a modern way of effectively removing the holes and crypts, in a procedure that takes a few minutes only, with patients returning to work straight away.

More than one procedure may be required although the majority of patients just need one treatment.

In terms of prevention there is not much you can do. Changing diet doesn't seem to make any difference, once the holes and cracks are there (often caused by repeated infection when younger), any food will become lodged and start to form into tonsil stones.

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© 2020 by Mike Dilkes ENT Laser Surgery

General Medical Council: 3096325

Mike Dilkes is a leading ENT surgeon based in London. He specialises in laser surgery for treatment of a range of Ear, Nose & Throat issues including tonsillitis, tonsil stones, snoring, sleep apnoea, cancers, catarrh and allergies. Typical treatments include laser tonsillectomy under local anaesthetic (also called tonsillotomy, tonsil resurfacing, tonsil crytolysis) or general anaesthetic (also called intracapsular laser tonsillectomy, inside-out laser tonsillectomy), palatoplasty, septoplasty, turbinoplasty, uvulectomy and posterior turbinoplasty for post nasal drip. Principal Mike Dilkes has over 20 years of consultancy experience and around 5,000 ENT operations and procedures performed.