Sialolithiasis (Salivary Gland Stones)
The development of tiny calcium deposits, or stones, within a salivary gland is called sialolithiasis. Although the exact cause of sialolithiasis is unknown, a number of risk factors have been identified. Those who do not consume enough food and those who are taking certain medications that reduce the flow of saliva may be at risk for sialolithiasis. Dehydration is another risk factor, as it thickens the saliva. Salivary gland stones that block the saliva ducts may lead to sialoadenitis, and chronic infections.
A stone can be diagnosed by feeling the duct of the gland to see if there is a firm object within it. The diagnosis can, at times, be confirmed by a CT scan (not all stones show on CT scans). Stones that are at the outer most portion of the duct can be squeezed out, but those that are further deeper towards the main substance of the gland are more difficult to deal with, and may require the whole gland to be removed.
Often painful, sialadenitis is a bacterial infection of a salivary gland. Sialadenitis most commonly affects elderly people and often associated with the presence of salivary gland stones (sialolithiasis). Those who have xerostomia (chronic dry mouth) or who are anorexic may also be prone to the condition. Swelling, pain, fever, and chills are frequently reported symptoms of sialadenitis. Most patients respond very well with a simple course of antibiotics, increased water intake, massaging the area of the gland to squeeze the infected saliva out of the gland, and warm compresses. In the rare complicated cases the facial nerve may become inflamed and paralyzed, this requires immediate attention, and potentially surgical drainage.
Salivary Gland Stone Risks
With each infection of the saliva glands there is a risk of causing scarring in the gland and especially in the ducts of the gland causing narrowing of the duct. When this happens then the saliva can be blocked behind the area of narrowing and lead to recurrent swelling of the gland. This progresses over time and can become very painful. When this problem starts to recur over and over again it is called chronic sialoadenitis. The most important way to prevent this problem is to increase your water intake and treat salivary gland infections immediately. For those with chronic sialadenitis that is very symptomatic a surgical removal of the gland may be the only treatment option. These procdures are called , a superficial parotidectomy or submandibular gland excision may be recommended.
Because the symptoms of sialadenitis are similar to those of other illnesses, a thorough examination may be recommended by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Individuals in respected ear, nose, and throat specialist who provides a number of safe, innovative treatment options for his patients.
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