Tonsillithiasis (Tonsil Stones)
Tonsillithiasis is a common condition, which occasionally brings about confusion in both patients and primary care providers. Tonsilliths are whitish collections of debris that develop within the tonsil crypts. All tonsils have tonsil crypts, and most have Tonsilliths that develop from time to time, and usually spontaneously exit the crypt without being noticed by the patient. Occasionally, these collections of debris become stuck, and enlarge considerably. When this occurs, patients occasionally complain of throat discomfort and bad breath. Patients occasionally attempt to remove these by vigorously manipulating their tonsils with their fingers, or other foreign objects. This manipulation occasionally results in bleeding and trauma, with a resultant severe sore throat, or even a tonsil infection. It is important to note that tonsillithiasis does not lead to tonsil infections, unless the tonsils are manipulated by the patient. A tonsillectomy is curative, but most often not necessary once the patient is reassured about the benign nature of this condition.