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Tonsil stones. Smelly white lumps that form in the tonsils. Patients don't like them!

Tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths, are formed when food gets squeezed into cracks or holes in the tonsils during the second phase of swallowing, where quite high pressure form in the back of the mouth, right next to the tonsils. This food, being organic, decays with time, and starts to taste and smell bad. The decaying process can also set up an inflammatory reaction and trigger a sore throat or tonsillitis.

This picture shows a crack in the right tonsil. If you zoom in you'll see small greyish rounded structures within the crack. These are 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.