Your ENT Questions Answered with Dr. DJ Trigg

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Kids ENT of Indiana.


Did you know that almost one million children have ear tubes placed every year? Which is why it would make sense that one of the top questions we get asked by Indianapolis Moms is if we have any ENT recommendations. So we went straight to the expert! Dr. DJ Trigg is a pediatric ENT, which means he did a fellowship to become an ENT and then another to just focus on children. He’s been in Indianapolis for 17 years first working with Peyton Manning Children’s and then opened his own practice, Kids ENT of Indiana, over five years ago.

Here are some of the most popular questions from Indianapolis Moms answered by Dr. Trigg in our latest interview.


Families want to know when to go to an ENT? Is it typically pediatrician referrals or can families call and get consultations when they have issues?

Generally, a referral from a pediatrician or family primary care doctor is recommend. Dr. Trigg explains, “Most insurance companies require a referral, and so it covers that base.” He continues, “The second is that is gives us demographic information, contact information, and very importantly, it gives us information from the pediatrician.” Not only does it give the ENT background, but it helps them know where to start when it comes to the consultation.

What services do you provide as an ENT? We know there are many, but what are the most common procedures and services?

“We take care of a lot of kids for ear tubes,” Dr. Trigg shares. “It is one of the things I have been doing the most, hands down, for almost 20 years.” But an ENT is more than just ears! “We also take care of nasal congestion, adenoids, sinus issues as well.”

Dr. Trigg does stress that his practice focuses on trying to get families in quickly. “Days, not months. And if they need surgery, we can get that in typically a week or two, opposed to waiting additional several months for something that is relatively simple and can be really helpful for children.”

Let’s talk more about ear tubes – what is this process like? What exactly do ear tubes do for a patient and can children get them at any age?

“The most common age we put tubes in is between the ages of 1 and 2,” Dr. Trigg explains. “That’s the most common, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time. In very rare cases, we have to put tubes in at around 3 or 4 months of age. And it really goes up well into adulthood where there are still some people who need ear tubes.”

Ear tubes are necessary when the natural ear tube mechanism isn’t working. “When it doesn’t work very well, you tend to get liquid behind the eardrum and that liquid is what gets infected,” Dr. Trigg tells us. He explains that the procedure is very short and not very invasive at all. They use just gas anesthesia with the assistance from a pediatric anesthesiologist. “I go through the ear canal and make a small incision in the eardrum, and put a tiny little cylinder into the eardrum. What that does is it bypasses the natural mechanism, preventing fluid, and that’s how we prevent ear infections.” The ear tubes also allow you to treat an ear infection because “if one happens, it comes out and you can use ear drops,” Dr. Trigg shares.

Is snoring a red flag for something else? When should caregivers be concerned about a child snoring?

Dr. Trigg informs us that, “making noise at night is not optimal.” He continues, “Some snoring is not too big of a deal. But the thing we start getting concerned about is if someone’s breathing is impacting the quality of someone’s sleep. Then an intervention probably needs to take place.” He says that this is when an ENT will begin to get involved in the process to determine the root of the issue and if it is impacting the child as well as what can be done. “Sometimes it’s medication. Sometimes there is no way around it, surgery is the only option. Sometimes we need more information, like with a sleep study.” But Dr. Trigg does stress that snoring should prompt more questions with your medical professional.

Does snot color really matter? Is there anything we can do to lessen mucus in kids? And if my child is constantly congested, is this a sign of overall inflammation or something to be concerned about?

Snot color CAN be an issue. Typically allergies and noninfectious infections in your nose will produce clear drainage. “Under the age of two, the most common reason for a lot clear drainage is that the child is in daycare. The nose, which is an air filter, is just filtering out all of those lovely germs that are in daycare.” But Dr. Trigg goes on to say, “If the snot turns colorful, we are talking yellow, green, that indicates that there’s probably a process going on that’s infectious.” However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child needs to run to the doctor for an antibiotic. Just continue to watch your child, monitor how long it has been going on and pay attention for any sick symptoms they might exhibit.

Saline spray in the nose is one of the best things you can do for congestion. “It hydrates the nose, it cleans the nose and thins out the mucus,” Dr. Trigg tells us. While it may not make sense to be putting liquid into your nose when you feel like it’s already congested, he tells us that it is one of the best options.

When it comes to congestion, it is more than just nasal mucus in the nose. “The reality is that majority of the time when kids are stuffy it is not mucus, it’s swelling inside the nose.” Dr. Trigg continues to tell us that, “Swelling in the nose is inflammation most of the time that can be due to infections, allergies, or just chronic exposure to junk in the air.” Regardless, he does recommend reaching out to your pediatrician if your child is experiencing chronic congestion to discuss if a referral to an ENT is necessary.

You can watch our full interview with Dr. DJ Trigg below. For more information and details about Kids ENT of Indiana, visit their website here.



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