Tonsillar Stones

December 8th, 2016 by admin in Havas ENT Clinics, Laser Surgery, Mouth, Throat Clinic Comments Off on Tonsillar Stones

A tonsillolith or tonsillar stone is a piece, or more commonly, clusters of calcareous matter that forms in the crypts or crevasses of the palatine tonsils (commonly known as the tonsils). They are white or cream in colour and range in size from a pin head to the size of a pea. They often have an unpleasant odour because of Hydrogen Sulfide, Methyl Mercaptan or other substances contained within the debris. Large tonsillar stones or tonsilloliths often give the sensation of a foreign object lodged in the tonsillar crypt. Often they cause patients concern because they think they represent acute or chronic infection. They are often associated with bad breath but are usually not harmful.

Tonsilloliths occur more frequently in adults than in children.

Often, small tonsillar stones don’t cause any noticeable symptoms, even when they are quite large. However for smaller stones, symptoms range from an incidental finding of bad breath, a sensation of coughing or irritation to a foul or metallic taste in the mouth.

Larger tonsilloliths usually present with multiple symptoms including recurrent bad breath, sore throat, bad taste in the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing and occasionally referred otalgia.

Often the only treatment required is reassurance.

If the tonsilloliths are associated with significant halitosis or bad breath, conservative management involves the use of mouth wash, vigorous tooth cleaning, increase in hydration, avoidance of smoking, or treatment of underlying gastro-oesophageal reflux which is often associated with the condition.

If the symptoms associated with tonsil stones are severe, surgery may be an option. This involves either tonsillectomy or laser cryptolysis, depending on the size of the stones.

If you have the sensation of a foreign object in your tonsils, or have recurring halitosis, come and see Professor Havas to ascertain whether tonsil stones are playing a part in your symptomatology, and if so, what treatment is right for you.