Tonsil stones can be removed at home by gently using a cotton swab or clean finger to dislodge them, explains Healthline. Coughing energetically or gargling with a salt water solution can also sometimes help dislodge the stones. A physician's help may be necessary to remove particularly stubborn or large stones.
Although tonsil stones do not usually pose any health risks and can be removed at home in most cases, there are a few different procedures doctors can perform to eliminate them if they are causing a great deal of discomfort, notes Healthline. Laser tonsil cryptolysis involves the use of a laser to remove the pockets where the stones become stuck in the patient's tonsils. The procedure requires only local anesthesia to perform and usually has a minimal recovery period. There is not much discomfort involved for most patients, although the process can produce a burning sensation.
Another treatment for eliminating tonsil crypts is coblation cryptolysis, states Healthline. During this procedure, charged ions cut through the tonsil tissue, removing the holes where tonsil stones get caught along the way. A third option is a tonsillectomy, which involves removal of the tonsils all together. This option is typically only utilized in extreme cases after first trying other methods of treating the tonsil stones.