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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:

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  • 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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 06, 2012
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.
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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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