Tonsil Stones — The Growing Health Nuisance Being Tackled by a Local Company of OSU & UofO Alumni

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((L-R) Daniel Forbes, Sydney Forbes and Jessy Imdieke | Photos and graphic Courtesy of Tonsil Tech)

A Creative Solution to a Stinky Problem Wreaking Havoc on Self-Esteem

Tonsil Tech, comprised of Daniel Forbes, Sydney Forbes and Jessy Imdieke, is a team of bioengineers on a mission to develop tools specifically for the safe and easy removal of tonsil stones.

If you have not heard of tonsil stones, you are not alone, but it is an issue your family members, friends and co-workers may be experiencing. It is estimated that roughly ten percent of the U.S. population experiences tonsil stones. Since routine tonsillectomies fell out of favor in the 70s-80s, more and more people are growing up with their tonsils and subsequently experiencing tonsil stones.

What are tonsil stones?

Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths, are the calcification of food, mucus and bacteria that form in the pits and crypts of tonsils and accumulates into small white chunks.

The combination of pungent smell, discomfort and frustration when removing tonsil stones can be an irritating nuisance. People generally don’t talk about their tonsil stones because it is an embarrassing topic and leads to reduced self-esteem.

It all started with an Oregon State University project.

Back in 2017, Forbes and Imidieke were tasked to come up with a list of ten things they would like to change in the healthcare space for their bioengineering senior capstone project at Oregon State University.

Upon comparison, they were surprised to find they both had tonsil stones at the top of their lists! The team went on to win a number of class awards for the project.

After college, Forbes and Imdieke both gained valuable experience at their Bay Area startup jobs in process engineering, pharmaceuticals and 3D printed medical devices. As they worked on their individual careers, Forbes and Imdieke re-visited their tonsil stones project a few times. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 lockdown that they really started to work on the idea and figure out a path to market.

In July 2020, they officially launched their company, Tonsil Tech, with their third co-founder, Forbes, who is experienced in leading marketing efforts and business analytics for startups. The team moved to Central Oregon and joined several startup programs in the Pacific Northwest including OSU Iterate & Launch, UW Regional CoMotion NSF I-Corps Program, WE-REACH Biomedical Innovation Bootcamp, Washington Innovation Network (WIN) Mentor Program and the Oregon Bioscience Incubator Mentor Program.

“The Pacific Northwest has offered amazing resources to our team as we’ve navigated the early stages of our startup,” said Forbes.

The team interviewed and surveyed hundreds of people with tonsil stones and talked with ENTs, general practitioners, dentists and dental hygienists about tonsil stones to develop the first tool on the market specifically designed for tonsil stone removal.

“Jessy and I both have tonsil stones and we are passionate about helping people because this topic has been understudied,” said Forbes. “People are currently using fingers, Q-Tips, syringes, toothbrushes, chopsticks, bobby pins, blackhead removers, makeup brushes, waterpiks, pens, pencils, etc., and we believe there is a better way.”

The Tonsil Tech team launched their first product, TonsiFIX, in July 2021.

TonsiFIX is a premium tool kit engineered specifically for safe and easy tonsil stone removal at-home. The precise and careful design is intended to provide users with a gentle and comfortable experience compared to alternative options. TonsiFIX is sold direct to consumers on their website tonsiltech.com.

The TonsiFIX devices are manufactured in the USA and made of a high-quality flexible material for soft tonsil tissue. Our patent pending tools are designed to easily fit in tonsil pits and scoop tonsil stones. We include a washable travel pouch for clean storage and a bright LED suction cup light to help see the tonsils hands-free.

“As a bioengineer, it’s an amazing feeling creating a product that solves a real world problem for people that have been frustrated and struggling for so long,” said Imdieke.

If you or someone you know has tonsil stones, check us out at tonsiltech.com for tonsil stone relief and improved self-esteem!

tonsiltech.com

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