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Tonsillitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Treatments for Tonsillitis continued...

If the tonsillitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics won't work and your body will fight off the infection on its own. In the meantime, there are things you can do to feel better, regardless of the cause. They include:

  • Get enough rest
  • Drink warm or very cold fluids to ease throat pain
  • Eat smooth foods, such as flavored gelatins, ice cream, or applesauce
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in your room
  • Gargle with warm salt water
  • Suck on lozenges containing benzocaine or other anesthetics
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

 

When Tonsillectomy Is Needed

Tonsils are an important part of the immune system throughout life, so it is best to avoid removing them.  However, if tonsillitis is recurrent or persistent, or if enlarged tonsils cause upper airway obstruction or difficulty eating, surgical removal of the tonsils, called tonsillectomy, may be necessary. Most tonsillectomies involve using a conventional scalpel to remove the tonsils; however there are many alternatives to this traditional method. Increasingly doctors are using techniques such as lasers, radio waves, ultrasonic energy, or electrocautery to cut, burn, or evaporate away enlarged tonsils.

As with all surgeries, each of these has benefits and drawbacks. When considering the procedure, it's important to discuss your options with the surgeon to select the most appropriate one for your child.

What to Expect After Surgery

Tonsillectomy is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia and typically lasting between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. It is most commonly performed in children.

Most children go home about four hours after surgery and require a week to 10 days to recover from it. Almost all children will have throat pain, ranging from mild to severe, after surgery. Some may experience pain in the ears, jaw, and neck. Your child's doctor will prescribe or recommend medication to ease the pain.

During the recovery period, it's important for your child to get enough rest. It's also important to make sure your child gets plenty of fluids; however, you should avoid giving your child milk products for the first 24 hours after surgery. Although throat pain may make your child reluctant to eat, the sooner your child eats, the sooner he or she will recover.

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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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