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Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

It was once common to remove children's tonsils and adenoids. Today, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are done less often, and only when the benefits greatly outweigh the risk, inconvenience, and pain.

Tonsillectomy. A tonsillectomy may be recommended if at least 1 of the following criteria is present:

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  • There have been at least 4 to 6 severe tonsillitis infections caused by strep bacteria in the past year despite treatment with at least 2 different antibiotics.
  • The enlarged tonsils cause severe trouble breathing or sleep disturbance.
  • There are deep pockets of infection in the tonsils that haven't responded to medication treatment.

Adenoidectomy. An adenoidectomy may be recommended if at least 1 of the following criteria is present:

  • The enlarged adenoids are obstructing the airway, causing trouble breathing and sleep disturbance.
  • The adenoids may cause persistent ear infections, despite antibiotic treatment.

If your doctor recommends surgery but none of the above criteria are met, it may be wise to get a second opinion.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Last Revised February 25, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 25, 2010
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.

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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