Tonsil Stones Removal

What Are Tonsil Stones?


Tonsil Stones Removal
Tonsil Stones & Removal

Tonsilloliths, often referred to as tonsil stones, are clusters of calcified material often collected in palatine tonsils.  Tonsilloliths are more common in cryptic tonsils, or tonsils with larger crevices. They are composed mostly of calcium, but may contain other minerals like phosphorus and magnesium, ammonia or carbonate. While generally not harmful, tonsil stones are often a nuisance. Many people with tonsil stones describe a feeling of having something stuck in their throat. These tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, can cause chronic halitosis or bad breath. Before discussing how to get rid of tonsil stones, let’s examine their cause. Dr. Murray Grossan has invented an amazing little machine to assist in the removal of tonsil stones. He calls it the Hydro Pulse

The cause of Tonsilloliths is not known, but they are more common in adult than children. Removing tonsil stones is an obsession for many, and a lucrative business for others. A search of the term, “tonsil stones removal,” will probably lead readers to numerous vendors of products purporting to have the most effective tonsil stones removal and cure.

How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones


Before spending money on tonsil stonesremoval, consider trying less expensive and less invasive methods of tonsil stone removal and prevention. It should be noted that no treatment at all may be needed. In cases where bad breath or discomfort become pronounced enough to affect quality of life, these treatments may be justified. There a several standard treatments currently available in the United States. A brief overview includes irrigation, curettage, laser, and tonsillectomy surgery.

Tonsil Stones Removal and Treatment


How to get rid of tonsil stones:
A simple method removing tonsil stones is to use an oral irrigator. Most electric irrigators are not recommended for tonsil stone removal. They are generally too powerful and are likely to cause damage the tonsils. This, in turn, can result in infection. Gargling with warm, salty water can help alleviate tonsil stones. Vigorous gargling daily can keep the tonsil crypts clear of tonsil stones.

Larger tonsil stones may require removal by curettage. Large lesions may require local excision. It should be noted that these treatments may not allieviate the bad breath often associated with tonsil stones
To decrease the surface area of the tonsils with a laser is also a tonsil stones treatment option. This procedure is called laser cryptolysis. This technique “flattens,” the edges of the crevices which can collect the debris. This can prevent material from collecting and forming Tonsilloliths.
Tonsillectomy may be necessary if problems due to Tonsilloliths persist, despite less invasive measures.

Below are several pictures of typical Tonsilloliths. While each person is unique, these photos represent fairly common Tonsillolith presentation. For those considering tonsillectomy surgery, pictures of post tonsillectomy throat, and even tonsils can be found on the tonsillectomy pictures page.

Since tonsillitis is also a common affliction among tonsilliloth sufferers, pictures of throats affected by tonsillitis are also displayed on the tonsillitis page.

More information about tonsillectomy recovery


One Person’s Story, From a reader:

Tonsil stones were the obvious cause of  my bad breath, as I learned while undergoing treatment of chronic tonsillitis., my doctor told me that I had tonsil stones or Tonsilloliths I had no idea what that was. Were tonsil stones like kidney stones? Were they like gall stones? I learned that they were neither. The disgusting occupants of my enlarged tonsils, that made it hard to swallow and gave me horrible breath were tonsil stones.

Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths are concentrations of white excrescences that develop in the tonsil’s many recesses. The anatomic composition of some people’s tonsils; their size as well as the presence of large crypts, can make people more susceptible to tonsil stones.

The excrescences are made of bacteria, mucous and dead cells that have hardened. This happens most often with folks who, like me, have chronic tonsillitis, and cryptic tonsils. By cryptic I mean tonsils that have pockets or crevices in which particles can accumulate. These are normal but some people’s tonsils are more cryptic than others’. This leaves them more susceptible to tonsil stones.

Removing tonsil stones or tonsilloliths is tricky.  They don’t always present with obvious symptoms, but during my treatment of tonsillitis the doctor did see a white spot on one of my tonsils. I didn’t have the horrible bad breath many people with tonsil stones have. The stench is actually caused by an accumulation of sulfur compounds and most people who have stones or tonsilloliths have this high level of sulfur in their breath.

The tonsillitis that I suffered from brought sore throats, which is another symptom of tonsil stones, as is difficulty in swallowing. I always associated my difficulty in swallowing with the tonsillitis flare ups.

Tonsilloliths may also manifest symptoms in the form of referred pain in the ear. This means that the ear feels the pain of the tonsil stone, even though it’s nowhere near it. This is because the tonsils and the ears share the same nerve pathways. Another symptom of tonsil stones is swelling. The swollen tonsils can interfere with breathing.

Maybe I did have symptoms of tonsil stones? At any rate, my doctor decided that the tonsils, which had bedeviled me for years, had to go.  For me, tonsillectomy was the best treatment. Check with your ear nose and throat specialist before removing tonsil stones.


There is an amazing amount of information floating around the internet about tonsil stones removal and treatment.  If you dig into them, you’ll learn that most sites are trying to sell products to mask the symptoms of tonsil stones but profess to be treatments or cures.


Treatments for tonsil stones are actually rather limited. I’ve seen countless videos about removing them.  Some recommend downright dangerous methods.  Be careful about what you put down your throat.  That applies to the elixirs being hawked on the internet as well.  Read the ingredients carefully and don’t waste money on a product that is probably no better for your throat, maybe much worse, than a simple solution of warm saltwater.  Gargling with warm water and baking soda is an inexpensive, safe home remedy for all manner of throat irritations and bad breath.  Most internet marketers won’t tell you this.  How much money could they make selling a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda?

Short of tonsillectomy surgery, it’s doubtful that these over the counter treatments will be successful in long term treatment of tonsil stones.


If you have a success story about tonsil stones treatment or cure, please post it under comments and questions section below.  We want your your input!  Thanks, -Greg Tooke 


  1. Well the response buttons arent working? So i will just type a new one, Sweet_nothing, my ENT did put me on antibiotics initially. His aim was to stem the flow of post nasal drip, but like i asked him, antibiotics wont do anything for the build up that is already there! The only thing the antibiotics did was bring the swelling in my lymph nodes down. So my surgery was actually rescheduled twice, and I just had them out this morning! So far so good, i can swallow find, and am in a little discomfort but no real pain, yet. Im SOOOOOO happy this is done, and looking forward to getting the next two weeks outa the way, and on with my LIFE!! =)

    1. Thanks for your response 🙂 As I feared the antibiotics were only a temporary solution. My surgery is now scheduled for July 18th. Glad to hear your first day is going well. It will all be worth it! Please keep us updated on your progress. Did you get the coblation method?

  2. I see a lot of post about people unsure weather or not tonsil stones are reason enough to get them removed…. YES!! If your ENT wont do it, FIND A NEW ONE! My saga goes back a couple years, starting with eye infections, dry eye, ear aches in my left ear with no resolution (antibiotics/steroids didnt do anything, for either eyes or ears) with the symptoms subsiding on their own, turning into chronic nasal congestion and post nasal drip. When you live with something like that for years, abnormal becomes normal, and you forget what normal is. I finally started suspecting post nasal drip when i started hearing the under their breath comments about my breath ,the horrible taste in my mouth, having bad breath right after i brushed my teeth, constantly swallowing, feeling like something was stuck in the back of my throat. I would look back there and see NOTHING! Unlike many of the pictures on this sight and many others out there… it was a mystery to me whether or not I actually had post nasal drip, and after some research, tonsil stones. Until one day about 6 months ago I came across a website saying irrigation was the best method for the removal of tonsil stones, so, having a water pick, turned down to the lowest setting, i stuck it back there. What followed was the most disgusting experience of my life, for 2 FULL hours i irrigated my left tonsil, and had a constant flow of stones coming out.My left tonsil was always a little bigger than my right, and after irrigating shrunk to about half its size. Then the right side for 2 hours, until no more came out. I say again, i could not SEE any of this build up, but it was there. I really dont understand how people stick their fingers back there without gagging themselves to death. So that confirmed it, and i thought for a while that maybe i had got all of it… I would check my breath right after brushing, and it would be ok for once! for a while…. so begins the obsessive compulsive irrigation of my tonsils, twice a day, constantly stressing, worrying, I am a very outgoing confident person until this, now I cant look people in the eyes when talking, coming up with strategies for not having to talk to someone face to face, messing with things in my hands, on and on. By this point I have already secluded myself from any normal friendships, dating, i am divorced 4 years and have not dated since. The final straw was two weeks ago, when during my compulsive irrigation, i hit another pocket of stones and a bunch came out. After that, i could taste it for a whole week. That was enough, I finally convinced myself that I had enough of a problem to go see an ENT. (I DONT go to doctors, or the hospital, unless i am dying or have broken bones, even then i have avoided it, lol) The ENT was rather dismissive, he looked back there and said “I dont see anything out of the ordinary…” i described my saga, and he half listened, but then was very quick to say he would remove them, BUT, the pain and recovery blah blah blah. I was quick to say I had done my research and new full well what i was getting into, and wanted them OUT!! He prescribed me antibiotics in the mean time, my lymph nodes have been swollen for YEARS, although i didnt know that, because it seemed “normal.” I only noticed it after the antibiotics kicked in, and he also suggested nasal irrigation (great, more irrigation) and a nasal spray. He agreed that the cause of my stones is probably my post nasal drip. Regardless of weather or not the post nasal drip is resolved, i will remove my tonsils. The social impact this has had on me is tremendous. I am scheduled to have them removed the 8th of may in 2 weeks. Dont feel bad that the only reason you want your tonsils removed is stones. Dont feel bad because your tonsils arent swollen like golf balls, or look like aliens in the back of your throat. Dont take an ENT’s reluctance to remove them as the best route to take, THEY dont have to live your reality. Sorry, kind of long winded, but if this helps just one person out there in my same situation, to take that step to resolve this issue, it is well worth it. Wish me luck, i will post my removal experience here as well.

    1. I had my tonsils removed on April 17 and I had tonsil stones. I can relate to what you are saying. They cause a lot of issues. Good luck with your surgery!

      1. Did you ever try antibiotics before getting your tonsils out to treat the tonsil stones? My ENT put me on antibiotics for a month, I’ve been off them now for a week and haven’t had any problems. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before they return though and I’ll be facing surgery.

  3. Hello all! I’m writing this on 1 April 2013; my tonsillectomy surgery is in about 9 hours from now. I’m really nervous – not so much about dealing with the pain (which I’m sure will not be fun) but I’m scared about being put under with general anesthesia. I hate going to the family doctor let alone to the hospital! All that said I’m confident that going through this surgery will be worth it. I have enlarged tonsils with deep crypts. Unfortunately this means I get tonsil stones. Even though I use a manual oral irrigator (monoject 412) every morning I’m still constantly thinking about my tonsils and whether or not there are tonsil stones in there. I’m actually amazed at how often I think about my tonsils daily…in normal conversation, at the gym, being intimate, driving in the car – always wondering if I have stones and if I smell like, well, hell. Not cool!
    For anyone thinking about the surgery I say go for it. Tonsil stones may not seem like the end of the world to people who’ve never had to deal with them, but I can tell you that this condition is socially debilitating and can lead to low self esteem. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that tonsil stones can contribute to anxiety or even depression for some. Now stop and think about that for a second and weigh that against a not-so-fun procedure. Think about how your quality of life will increase. Right now at 10:18pm I’m kinda just focused on being nervous about the hospital but I know my life will be better without huge tonsils and the tonsil stones that live in them.

    I’ll post again after I get the procedure done and give anyone interested an idea of the pain level and also the hospital procedure itself.

    1. I had my tonsillectomy yesterday too, how are you feeling? I was home by 10am yesterday. Most people say that their first day or two are easiest, but I have been very uncomfortable. Are you doing any talking? I have had so much mucous and can’t figure out how to swallow so liquids don’t go up my nose! I just got approval from my ent to have my pain meds at the 4 hour mark instead of 6.

      1. Hi Lora – basically I’m feeling very uncomfortable as well. Not unbearable, but the best way I can describe it is a bad case of strep throat. I also have a lot of mucous and I’m just trying to drink lots of water in hopes that it will break up mucous and keep me hydrated. I’m told that hydration is very important right now to lower the risk of bleeding – I am able to force down water but it hurts to swallow of course. Please keep trying because forcing it down sure beats them having to put in an iv due to dehydration and it also speeds the healing process. Also try to stay away from dairy if you are not already doing so – this can cause lots of extra mucous. I’m trying not to talk but that is difficult! ha! At the very least you are not alone – I am right here going through this same thing with you.

        Were you scared of being put under? This was my main concern but it turned out to be no big deal at all. I’ve never had an IV, never been put under, and never been on an operating table (its cold in there by the way) but all of it wasn’t bad. Oh and I hate hospitals/doctors offices – I cant even do the blood pressure thing without crazy readings because I get all tense when that thing is tightening on my arm!

        The process of being put under was very surreal. I was wheeled to the operating room and I slid over to the operating room table. I remember one of the people saying they were going to give me some medicine. In about 10 seconds I felt like I was drunk (vision wise only – the room started moving a little like it does when you’re drunk/buzzed – no nausea though). I made a comment about this and the guy responded that it was normal and then about 5 seconds later I was out. It happened so fast that I didn’t even “fall” asleep – I was just instantly out. I actually thought they were going to ask me to count backwards from 10 to 1 but that didn’t happen. The next thing I knew I started waking up in the recovery area with a nurse sitting next to me.

        The doctor told my wife that the procedure went well – apparently both my tonsils and adenoids were infected so they were both removed. I’m guessing they are sitting in jar waiting for pathology at this point.

        Please keep me updated on your experience – maybe we can post and go through this thing together!!


        1. I am trying to drink, but it keeps wanting to go up my nose instead, gross! I’ve also been trying to eat solid foods because I’m tired of the other stuff already! What meds are you on? I’ve been put under before but I read stories about throwing up upon waking, so that’s what I was worried about. All was fine though. I can’t shine the pain increasing, I wish I could fast forward two weeks!

        2. I am on liquid codine only and today (day 2) is worse than day 1. Lots more flem and I cant wait to take the pain meds again. Also notice some aches in my neck and I’m having a hard time staying warm (as I type this I have thermal pants on and a warm sweatshirt with the hood up. I hear you about the food – I painfully swallowed down some warm scrambled eggs earlier!

          Keep trying to get those liquids down – your body needs them to heal up and get through this.

          What made you decide to get the procedure in the first place?


  4. I got these about 2-3 years ago. Had them on and off for about 8 months but mostly on 🙁 within a month of getting them I was at the doctors begging him to have a cure. I was terrified I would have bad breath. Of course, my appointment was on a day where no tonsil stones were visible. Great. He told me he couldn’t see anything and that there was nothing he could do anyway.

    Quite disheartened I went away and just ‘put up’ with them. I found it almost impossible to remove them myself without gagging and felt sick feeling them in my throat. Looking back now, I can see why I had them. If anyone is reading this hoping to find a ‘cure’ then maybe you should address the reason you have them. In my case, they were a symptom of a poor diet, with too many carbs.

    I now keep a low carb diet, plenty of lean meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Basically caveman/paleo. Have never felt better and once visible stones were gone, I have never seen one since. It may take a short time for your body to rectify them, but having your tonsils cut out of you is not a solution to the underly problem. It is removing the symptom your body is using to tell you something is wrong! Basically, you are what you eat. If your that bothered by tonsil stones, maybe assessing your diet is where to start. Good luck guys. I understand the frustration at not being able to find a medical answer!

  5. I have suffered from tonsil stones for several years. I do notice that for several weeks or months after a round of antibiotics, no stones. Also, I have noticed that a low carb diet seems to help as well.

    1. I just did a 1 month round of antibiotics, so far I’ve been okay, it has only been a week though. I think once they come back, I’ll get the surgery. Not sure if a lifetime of antibiotics is what I really want to do – especially since the antibiotics mess up my stomach.

      Did the antibiotics make your tonsils less cryptic?

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