Our salivary glands produce a key lubricant, to help with swallowing and digestion, to protect our teeth and gums from infection.
There are three major glands, sublingual, submandibular and parotid, along with hundreds of minor glands, or ducts. A complex system, which produces unpleasant symptoms when not working correctly.
Swelling, or redness inside, or outside your mouth often arise, along with a dry, or painful mouth, a bad taste, unwanted pus, or discomfort when eating.
Wider fever is possible and whilst rare, so is salivary gland cancer. More benign growths, infections, cysts, or salivary gland stones are quite common and require treatment, to restore healthy function.
Salivary stones (sialoliths) blocking salivary glands are the most prevalent issue. They are a build up of crystallized saliva deposits, which create swelling and/or infection until the blockage is cleared.
Viral infections such as mumps, or flu can cause salivary gland swelling. As can the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or cytomegalovirus (CMV). Autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome may also be a cause.
A combination of symptom analysis and testing, or scans assist with diagnosis. Worth noting that as well as being a cause, bacterial infections can be caused by blocked salivary ducts.
Cysts are quite common , or growths such as pleomorphic adenomas, or Warthin’s tumor. A good number of problems can interfere with our salivary gland function, or block the essential ducts.
This is why we ensure you see an experienced maxillofacial consultant. They can often recognise subtle symptom differences to help identify cause and have the knowledge to work through a full range of causes.
They will also discuss your medical history and condition with you, how you feel and lifestyle elements. Dehydration, or dietary choices can have an influence on salivary glands and on dealing with bacterial infection.
Treatment naturally depends on diagnosis. An unusual, serious issue such as salivary gland cancer could require surgery and radiotherapy, a simple infection, no more than antibiotics.
Patients are however often referred to our London clinic for specialist surgery, after likely causes are known. Fair to say that in a number of cases, surgical intervention will be the solution.
For salivary gland stones, or similar blockages, breaking them down, or manual removal will be needed, of the stones, possibly individual glands. Surgery is again probable to remove cysts, or a range of growths.
Whilst non surgical answers can apply, our wish is to provide a long term cure for patients, avoid recurrence and see a return to normal life.
Surgery is not too onerous, a local anaesthetic and half day surgery in a fair share of cases, or general anaesthetic and a night’s stay for others.
Care At Our London Clinic
You are welcome to see how salivary glands work and interact. A complete understanding of your condition and wishes are our starting point, treatment is discussed with you, always fully explained.
As with diagnosis, should you require surgery, this will be carried out by a leading maxillofacial consultant. Either in our day surgery facility, or at high quality London private hospitals, where we have arrangements in place.
Our staff understand the issues salivary gland problems can bring and wish to help. By all means get in touch to discuss the personal support we offer.