WebMD states that antifungal medicines are the first treatment for fungal nail infections, and antifungal pills are used for fungal infections that are harder to treat. Nail removal is used for critical or recurring fungal nail infections, which can be done with or without surgery.
According to WebMD, antifungal gels, creams and nail polish get rid of mild nail infections, but oral medicines are typically more effective. Antifungal pills are used for moderate and severe fungal nail infections and are the last step taken before removal of the infected parts of the nail or the entire nail.
When removing the nail with surgery, the entire nail or a part of the nail is removed in a clinic or doctor’s office, explains WebMD. The patient can instruct the doctor to apply a chemical to the cuticle area that prevents the nail from growing back in order to prevent recurring infection. Nail removal without surgery involves placing a urea ointment on the infected nail and covering it with a cloth adhesive tape. The nail is then covered with plastic and tape for seven to 10 days to allow the urea ointment to soften the nail. The nail is then lifted from the nail bed, or the provider clips away the diseased portions.