Oral Facial Reconstruction and Implant Center | Salivary Gland Disorders in Pembroke Pines

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Salivary Gland Disorders
 

salivary_glands.jpgSalivary gland disorders are conditions that lead to swelling or pain in the saliva-producing tissues around the mouth which include diseases of the parotid and submandibular gland.

Causes

The salivary glands produce saliva (spit), which moistens food to aid chewing and swallowing. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion process.

Saliva also cleans the mouth by washing away bacteria and food particles. Saliva keeps the mouth moist and helps keep dentures or orthodontic appliances (such as retainers) in place.

There are three pairs of salivary glands:

  • The two largest are the parotid glands, one in each cheek in front of the ears.
  • Two glands are under the floor of the mouth (sublingual glands).
  • Two glands are at the back of the mouth on both sides of the jaw (submandibular glands).

All of the salivary glands empty saliva into the mouth through ducts that open at various locations in the mouth.

The salivary glands may become inflamed (irritated) because of infection, tumors, or stones.

Problems with salivary glands can cause the glands to become irritated and swollen. This causes symptoms such as:

  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Pain in the face or mouth
  • Swelling of the face or neck

Causes of salivary gland problems include infections, obstruction or cancer. Problems can also be due to other disorders, such as mumps or Sjogren's syndrome.

Salivary duct stones

Salivary duct stones are crystallized minerals in the ducts that drain the salivary glands. Salivary duct stones are a type of salivary gland disorder.

Causes

Saliva (spit) is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth. The chemicals in saliva can crystallize into a stone that can block the salivary ducts.

When saliva cannot exit a blocked duct, it backs up into the gland, causing pain and swelling of the gland.

There are three pairs of major salivary glands:

  • The two largest are the parotid glands, one in each cheek over the jaw in front of the ears.
  • Two submandibular glands are at the back of the mouth on both sides of the jaw.
  • Two sublingual glands are under the floor of the mouth.

Salivary stones most often affect the submandibular glands, but they can also affect the parotid glands.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty opening the mouth or swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Pain in the face or mouth
  • Swelling of the face or neck (can be dramatic when eating or drinking)

The symptoms are usually most noticeable when eating or drinking.

Exams and Tests

An examination of the head and neck by the healthcare provider or dentist shows one or more enlarged, tender salivary glands. The doctor may be able to feel the stone during examination.

X-rays, ultrasound, or CT scan of the face can confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

The goal is to remove the stone.

Drink lots of water and use sugar-free lemon drops to increase the saliva, which may remove the stone. Massaging the gland with heat may help.

The doctor or dentist may be able to push the stone out of the duct. In some cases, the stone may need to be surgically cut out or reduced to small fragments using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Salivary duct stones are uncomfortable, but usually not dangerous. The stone is usually removed with only minimal discomfort. Some people may feel more pain.

If the person has repeated stones or infections, the affected salivary gland may need to be surgically removed.

Possible Complications

  • Discomfort
  • Increased risk of salivary gland infections
  • Recurrence (coming back) of stones

Give us a call for a consultation if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.