Chronic Tonsillitis | Tonsil Stones

Chronic Tonsillitis Treatment San Diego, CA

In most cases, over-the-counter treatments control the symptoms until the body eliminates the infection, but the tonsils can remain infected for some patients, and the condition can worsen or spread to other people.

When the condition persists or returns frequently, the patient experiences chronically infected tonsils. It sometimes may result in the formation of tonsil stones, where saliva, partially digested food, and dead cells build up in the crevices of your swollen, inflamed tonsils.

In such instances, patients require the attention of a specialist ear, nose, and throat doctor or otolaryngologist.

Board-certified otolaryngologist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe is an expert in treating chronic tonsillitis and related conditions. If you’re becoming alarmed, distressed, or frustrated by recurring sore throats, difficulty swallowing, or even pain when breathing, then you very well could be experiencing chronic tonsillitis. To get treatment from one of the field’s leading experts, call (858) 925-5800 or fill out Dr. Schalch Lepe’s consultation form today. 

Dr. Schalch Lepe, MD, FACS at Silenso Clinic in San Diego

Better Breathing Starts Today

Specializing in the treatment of a variety of conditions (deviated septum, nasal obstruction, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, etc.),  Dr. Schalch Lepe is highly qualified and motivated to provide his patients with the best possible treatment results. Dr. Schalch Lepe takes an in-depth, personalized approach with each patient to ensure they receive the best possible treatment for their situation.

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Schalch Lepe has the unique perspective of having trained in multiple countries. This experience has led him to be sought out by domestic and international patients, many of whom are Mexican ex-pats living throughout San Diego County and Southern California. 

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What is Chronic Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils, most commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection. This condition is usually temporary, with symptoms and signs that will worsen before finally improving in 2 to 4 weeks without treatment.

Chronic tonsillitis occurs when there are significant symptoms of inflammation and enlarged tonsils over an extended period of time. Recurrent tonsillitis can be classified into two main categories:

Image comparing normal and inflamed tonsilis
Tonsillitis is the swelling and inflammation of your tonsils.
  • Acute exacerbation of chronic tonsillitis: This type of chronic tonsillitis occurs after recurrent episodes have been absent for at least six months. An acute exacerbation typically lasts for less than four weeks.
  • Chronic persistent tonsillitis: This type of chronic tonsillitis is when recurrent episodes last from three to nine months.

What are Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones are a small collection of material in the tonsils that can be either calcium or calcium-magnesium salts. They are usually caused by an infection with various forms of bacteria (e.g., Streptococcus, Fusobacterium) or viruses (e.g., Epstein Barr virus).

They are likely to form when the tonsils are inflamed over a prolonged period of time, causing chronic tonsil stones.

Picture of tonsil stones and where they come from in the mouth
Tonsil stones form when debris is caught in the crevices of your tonsils due to tissue swelling.

What Causes Chronic Tonsillitis?

The causes of chronic tonsillitis are not well understood at this time.

Some factors known to play a role in developing the condition include:

Tobacco smoking


Genetic predisposition

Other respiratory infections

How is Chronic Tonsillitis Diagnosed?

Chronic tonsillitis can be challenging to diagnose because symptoms may be mild and nonspecific, like a sore throat and fever.

Your diagnosis with Dr. Schalch Lepe will include a thorough clinical history and a physical examination. As a tonsil stones specialist, he will ask about your symptoms, such as how often you experience them, how long they last, or whether it hurts to eat or swallow, and how often/long you have been on antibiotics.

Dr. Schalch Lepe may ask you about the medications you have taken to treat your condition and any other similar conditions that you have experienced in the past. If there is any suspicion of an underlying condition or any concern for cancer, additional tests may be ordered. Cultures may also be obtained.

Better Breathing Starts Today!

Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe is a renowned breathing and sleep surgeon. His greatest pride is giving his patients the ability to breathe, sleep, and feel their best using the latest, innovative surgical and non-surgical procedures. 

How can Chronic Tonsillitis be Treated?

When tonsillitis occurs non-chronically, your body will often heal itself within ten days. Treatment of tonsillitis may include antibiotics to kill off bacteria that are causing the inflammation and swelling in the throat region. Over-the-counter medication can be taken to reduce inflammation and pain.

However, when the condition becomes chronic, it doesn’t go away on its own and is non-responsive to antibiotics. In such cases, a surgical procedure may be required to remove part or all of one or both tonsils.

Your consultation with Dr. Schalch Lepe will determine the nature of your tonsillitis and decide upon the best treatment for your circumstances.

San Diego Chronic Tonsillitis Treatments

Dr. Schalch Lepe is a leading ear, nose, and throat specialist. The complex and difficult to understand nature of chronic tonsillitis means treatment needs a customized and patient-centered approach from a genuine expert.

Dr. Schalch Lepe may recommend one of the following methods:


ENTceps, a new and advanced method of treating tonsil stones and tonsillitis, improves the comfort and care of patients by utilizing a technology referred to as thermal fusion.

This forceps-style device, often considered the best tonsil stone removal tool, applies pressure and direct heat simultaneously to remove the tonsils and seal the remaining throat tissues. Dr. Schalch Lepe will grasp the tissue in the device and then activate the heating element to extract the tonsil and seal the adjacent tissues. No electrical energy permeates the tissue, reducing tissue damage and allowing for less bleeding, pain, and minimal risk of complications. Our patients often choose ENTceps to achieve the best overall experience with minimal downtime or discomfort.

Laser Tonsil Reduction/Resurfacing – Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis

Another option is laser tonsil reduction or resurfacing with the Valam laser. The process, also referred to as laser tonsil cryptolysis, laser tonsillectomy, or laser tonsil ablation, utilizes a diode laser as an alternative to tonsillectomy in cases of persistent tonsil stones with cryptic infections.

Benefits of laser-assisted tonsil ablation include:

  • Can be performed under local anesthesia
  • Reduced post-operative pain or discomfort and bleeding
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Convenience and cost advantage of an office procedure.

This procedure works well for most patients who suffer from chronic tonsillitis, food entrapment, bad breath, and chronic inflammation that can enlarge the tonsils and form deep pockets with tonsil stones

Partner with San Diego’s Leading Expert

As a chronic tonsillitis specialist, Dr. Schalch Lepe prides himself on his personalized approach to ensuring every patient of his is treated according to their circumstances. This is vital in finding an effective, long-term solution to chronic tonsillitis and improving quality of life. Arrange your consultation today by calling 858-925-5800 or filling out his online form. We are located in Carmel Valley and proudly serve patients coming from La Jolla, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Coronado, Eastlake, Chula Vista, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and other areas of San Diego County.A

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Chronic Tonsillitis FAQs

If you don’t treat your chronic tonsillitis, the infection can spread from the tonsils to other areas of your body, particularly into the throat and airway. This can lead to severe health conditions.

Yes, it is often a good idea to remove a chronically infected tonsil. The removal of the tonsils is often done as an outpatient procedure and usually doesn’t require time off from work or school. Specific expectations, risks, complications and alternatives will all be reviewed with you by Dr Schalch Lepe during your appointment.

Chronic tonsillitis symptoms include burning, tingling, or pain in the throat region, a sore throat, and fever, which usually indicates an infection from virus of bacteria.

Here at Silenso Clinic, we also offer treatments for a number of other conditions, including deviated septum, nasal obstruction, chronic rhinitis, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).