Skip to content

Oral Care

Font Size

Tonsillitis - Exams and Tests

Diagnosis of tonsillitis is based on a medical history and a physical exam of the throat. An accurate medical history is needed to find out whether tonsillitis is recurrent, which may affect treatment choices.

If your symptoms suggest strep throat, your doctor may want to confirm this diagnosis by doing a throat culture. Strep throat is more likely if 3 or 4 of the following signs or symptoms are present:

Recommended Related to Oral Health

4 Steps to a Pain-Free Dentist Visit

By Sascha Zuger Do you keep finding excuses to put off that dental cleaning? You're in good company; half of all American adults have anxiety over going to the dentist's office, and one third refuse to go at all. But the tooth -- er, truth -- is, skipping your twice-yearly appointments could mean more than a simple cavity: Poor oral hygiene can lead to heart disease, stroke, infection, and even some cancers. Luckily, new high-tech tools, pharmaceutical options, dentist training programs, and so-called...

Read the 4 Steps to a Pain-Free Dentist Visit article > >

  • Fever
  • White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and/or tonsils (tonsillar exudates)
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes on the neck
  • Absence of coughing or sneezing

If a strep infection is suspected, your doctor may do a rapid strep test or a throat culture or both. Both of these tests can be done in a doctor's office. You may want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each test to see which test is appropriate.

The results of these tests will determine whether antibiotic treatment is needed. These results combined with an accurate medical history will be considered in deciding whether surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is recommended.

If the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause mononucleosis, is suspected as a cause for the tonsillitis, a test for mononucleosis may be done.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 30, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

    Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


    or
    Answer:
    Never
    (0)
    Good
    (1-3)
    Better
    (4-6)
    Best
    (7)

    You are currently

    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.

    Start Over

    Step:  of 

    Today on WebMD

    close up of woman sticking out tongue
    Sores, discoloration, bumps and more.
    toothbrushes
    10 secrets to a brighter smile.
     
    Veneer smile
    Before and after.
    Woman checking her bite in mirror
    Why dental care is important.
     

    Woman dissatisfied with granola bar
    Slideshow
    woman with jaw pain
    Quiz
     
    eroded front teeth
    Slideshow
    brushing teeth
    Video
     

    Variety shades of tea
    Slideshow
    mouth and dental instruments
    Article
     
    Closeup of a happy young guy brushing his teeth
    Tool
    womans smile
    Video