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A. Schuyler, NP
A. Schuyler, NP, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 16310
Experience:  Board Certified NP, MS, RN. 25 years private practice & hospitalist
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I have had a red, swollen tonsil on my left side for 2

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I have had a red, swollen tonsil on my left side for 2 weeks. It's painful sometimes, not always. My doctor did a throat culture (which he thought for sure would be strep positive), and it came back all clear. In the last few days my throat has become red and sore, and there are dark red veins covering both tonsils and my throat. I'm in a bit of a panic just because we're not sure of the exact cause. I do have a molar tooth on my upper left side that could possibly be infected - could this cause the swelling in the tonsil?


Welcome to Just Answer and thanks for your question. If a strep test was all that was done (rather than a throat culture to look for any type of bacterial infection), then the throat can be infected with another type of bacteria (other than strep) from your tooth or other source. You may also have a viral throat infection that isn't connected to anything else at all. If that is the case, then your immune system will clear it on its own since antibiotics don't work on viruses. Any antibiotic the dentist starts today should help before Friday if it is bacterial.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
They did do a full throat culture and all was well. Would a viral infection last this long (2 weeks so far) with the pain coming and going? Or do you think it's more likely something connected to the tooth? Thanks.

A viral infection can last that long. If it were a bacterial infection from the tooth, the bacteria would have shown up on the throat culture.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Could the swelling be a result of the tooth, but not actually be infected with the bacteria?

Tonsils are lymohoid tissue and can swell from any kind of infection in the area that they drain. It is possible that the swelling is from that, but impossible to say with certainty.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you!