ZocdocAnswersWhat's causing me to get tonsil stones? How do I get rid of them?

Question

What's causing me to get tonsil stones? How do I get rid of them?

From what I've researched on tonsil stones, you usually get them from a cold or fever. I haven't had a cold or fever for at least a year but I keep getting tonsil stones. I never had this issue before and I've tried brushing my teeth and using mouth wash several times a day and they do not go away. Is there a way to get rid of them without having to rely on surgery? What kind of doctor do you see for this issue?

Answer

An ear nose and throat surgeon, aka ENT or otolaryngologist head and neck surgeon would be your best bet for the final say and treatment about this problem. Tonsil stones, or tonsilliths, are quite common. While they may be associated with colds or infections, they are most commonly associated with crypts in the tonsil itself. This allows for particles of food, bacteria, etc, to accumulate and then require dislodgment. It can cause impactions that are like small stones in the back of your throat. In addition to being annoying in and of themselves, they can contribute to bad breath in some people, and there are those who feel that they may contribute to some tonsil infections. For that reason, many will recommend that the ultimate treatment is having your tonsils removed via a tonsillectomy. Obviously, no one wants to do or offer surgery unless it is necessary, and so most will recommend a trial of a device called a water pick or something similar to help clean out the stones. This is just treating a symptom, however, and will therefore not provide an ultimate cure to the stones. Please speak with your doctor about your problem, and best of luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.