The only way to prevent tonsil stones from forming is to surgically remove the tonsils, according to WebMD. Because tonsil stones typically only occur in people who have chronic inflammation of the tonsils, removal of the tonsils eliminates the possibility of tonsil stones to form. Removal of the tonsils is typically performed under general anesthesia, and it creates a sore throat and difficulty swallowing for several days following the procedure.
Tonsil stones often have no symptoms, according to WebMD. When symptoms are present, they include bad breath, a sore throat, white debris near the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing and ear pain. Tonsil swelling may also appear when a tonsil stone has become hardened and lodged in a tonsil. Depending on the level of discomfort caused by the tonsil stone, treatment can vary. In mild cases, no treatment is used and symptoms go away with no intervention. Salt water gargles can be effective in easing some of the discomfort associated with tonsil stones.
When tonsil stones are large and causing symptoms, removal may be necessary, according to WebMD. This procedure is typically completed without general anesthesia. A doctor uses a numbing agent to minimize pain and removes the hardened or calcified debris manually from the tonsils.