Tonsils are egg-shaped tissues located at the back of the throat. They are part of the body’s immune system. Sometimes, when tonsils are frequently infected, they are surgically removed. Breathing problems and snoring are also reasons for tonsil removal, or tonsillectomy, in some cases. However, unless they are causing more than seven bouts with a sore throat in a year, it’s best to leave the tonsils in place.
Causes of Sore Throat
There are many kinds of sore throat issues. Not all are caused by pathogens. Throat pain can also be caused by postnasal drip, allergies, injuries, swollen lymph nodes, gastric reflux, and overuse of the vocal cords.
Not all cases of sore throat are due to Streptococcus A, the bacterial cause of strep throat. Most sore throats have a viral cause that will clear up without treatment in most cases. However, when strep throat is the culprit, it will require prompt treatment with antibiotics. Not only is the condition very painful, but it can cause serious systemic problems, such as permanent heart and joint damage.
Before the widespread use of antibiotics, beginning with penicillin in the 1940s, complications from strep throat were common. Sometimes, the disease caused a bright red rash. This was called scarlet fever. It could be fatal. Joint inflammation and damage, called rheumatic fever, was also a frequent complication of the disease. Lifelong heart damage, especially to the mitral valve, was yet another consequence of untreated strep infection. The heart’s mitral valve is critical to the normal flow of blood. A sore strep throat is usually extremely painful. Symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- White spots on the tonsils
- Pain with swallowing
It’s possible to have a very sore throat that is not due to strep. The only way to be sure is by a special test that uses a throat swab. If there are strep bacteria on the swab, the test will detect them. Strep throat usually clears up quickly with appropriate antibiotic therapy. If the cause is viral, antibiotics are useless and may cause harm by encouraging antibiotic resistance to develop.
Tonsillitis just means that the tonsils are inflamed. This inflammation is typically viral, but if strep bacteria are present, they can infect the tonsils. Strep throat and tonsils are two different things, however, strep throat can also cause tonsillitis. If the tonsils have been removed, then there is no relationship between strep throat and tonsils at all.
Mountain View Dental
Here at Mountain View Dental, we offer full-service dental care in a comfortable and professional environment. We offer a free consultation for new patients and free teeth whitening at every visit. There’s a treasure chest for the kids, too. We’re open to serve you during the COVID pandemic. Call 385-324-3557 for more information or to make an appointment. You can also visit us on our website. We look forward to serving you.