Tonsil stones, which are also known as tonsilloliths, can become quite an annoyance. Not only do they lead to bad breath, but they can make it harder for you to swallow and breathe. If you've been dealing with tonsil stones for a while and are struggling to keep them under control on your own, it is a good idea to schedule a visit to your doctor's office. Here are some tips to help ensure that visit is productive and helpful.
1. Don't remove your tonsil stones before you go.
As annoying as it might be to walk around with tonsil stones for a couple of days, it is best to avoid extracting them before you go to your doctor's office. This way, your doctor will be better able to see where you are forming the stones and how large they are becoming. If you go to the doctor's office without any stones because you just removed them, your doctor won't be able to make as thorough of an assessment.
2. Keep a tonsil stone journal beforehand.
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions such as "how often do you get the stones?" and "how often do you remove them?" It is easier to give correct answers to these questions if you've kept track. So, as soon as you know you'll be seeing a doctor for your tonsil stones, start keeping a journal in which you track your progress and the ways that you deal with the stones, day after day.
You should keep track of and share any details regarding symptoms of tonsil stones. For example, write down when you have a sore throat. These details will better help your doctor assess how serious your condition is.
3. Be ready for a referral.
Sometimes a primary care doctor will be willing and able to remove tonsil stones or recommend treatment for them. However, they will usually refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor or an ENT for further evaluation. Be prepared for this, and don't assume it's your doctor's way of brushing you off. Many primary care physicians simply are not as familiar with tonsil stones as ENTs are, so they are being honest by sending you on to a professional who can give you better information and treatment.
Tonsil stones can be more than a minor annoyance. If yours are really starting to bug you, then it's time to visit the doctor's office.