What to do with the mysterious tonsils


Tonsil crypts are naturally occurring bags or folds in the tonsils. On average, an adult's tonsils have 10 to 20 crypts. Tonsil crypts are usually small and do not have debris. The crypts of the tonsils look like lines on the tonsils where the two edges of the folds meet.

Get Medical Information / Cindy Chang


Crypts in the tonsils are normal, but they can accumulate food, mucus, and other debris, which can lead to tonsil stones (tonsillitis) and the following four symptoms :

  • Bad breath (bad breath)
  • Sensation of having something stuck in the throat.
  • Chronic tonsillitis
  • Finding cheese-like lumps in your mouth with an unpleasant odor

Crypts have low oxygen levels, making the environment vulnerable to non-oxygen (anaerobic) bacteria. When a mixture of bacteria begins to accumulate in the crypt, it is possible for it to become infected.

The infection can cause inflammation, sometimes called chronic caseous tonsillitis or fetid tonsils. "Caseous" refers to a cheesy formation in the crypts of the tonsils. When accumulated bacteria, mucus, or other debris are not dispersed, they can calcify and form stones .

Tonsil stones can appear as yellowish spots in the back of the throat. Some are large enough to protrude from the tonsils and resemble small pebbles up to half a centimeter (0.2 inches) in size.


You can have mysterious tonsils because you have naturally wrinkled tonsils, which are more prone to food retention. Other debris, including pus and bacteria that produce volatile sulfur compounds and cause bad breath, can collect in these holes in the tonsils.

Of all the causes of bad breath, hidden tonsils account for only about 3% of cases. Hidden tonsils often look like strep throat or other throat infections. Fortunately, the mysterious tonsils themselves are not usually bad for your health.

Watch out

There are several treatment options for hidden tonsils, depending on the severity of the condition. The standard treatment for troublesome tonsil stones is to have them removed by an otolaryngologist (otolaryngologist) or a professional dentist. Sometimes a therapist can remove tonsil stones.

You should never try to remove a tonsil stone yourself. Using Waterpik can only deepen the stone into the fabric. Tongue depressors, tweezers, toothpicks, and even cotton swabs are more likely to harm than not.

Tonsil removal

Common methods that a healthcare professional can use to remove tonsil stones include saline irrigation, scraping (using a curette to remove the stone), or manually removing the stone with a sterile swab.

Another method of treating hidden tonsils is cryptolysis with a carbon dioxide laser. This is an office procedure in which a laser beam is used to remove (remove) bags on the tonsils.

You will be given a local anesthetic to prevent pain during the procedure, which usually takes about 20 minutes. The laser works like peeling an onion. Thus, it exposes the crypt and allows you to remove the stone from the tonsils.

After the procedure, you will be asked to use over-the-counter pain relievers and gargle with local anesthetics to relieve pain and gargle with an antibiotic to prevent infection.


The final treatment option for hidden tonsils is tonsil removal. Tonsil removal is effective in almost 100% of cases, but the operation has risks that must be taken into account.

Tonsillectomy is generally only recommended if your symptoms do not respond to more conservative treatment or if they are made worse by sleep apnea , chronic strep throat, or other chronic conditions that affect the throat.

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