Our salivary glands produce a key lubricant, to help with swallowing, digestion, to protect teeth, or gums from infection. There are three major glands, sublingual, submandibular and parotid, along with hundreds of minor glands, or ducts.
A complex system, which can produce unpleasant symptoms when not working correctly. Swelling, or redness inside, or outside your mouth, a dry, or painful mouth, a bad taste, or unwanted pus, 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 in need of treatment, to restore healthy function.
Viral infections such as mumps, or flu can cause salivary gland swelling. As can the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), or HIV. 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 bacterial infections can be caused by blocked salivary ducts, as well as being a cause.
Salivary stones (sialoliths) blocking salivary glands are the most prevalent issue. A build up of crystallized saliva deposits, which create swelling and/or infection until the blockage is cleared.
Cysts are relatively 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 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 for Salivary Glands
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 core issues are known. Also 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, avoid recurrence and see a return to normality. Surgery is not too onerous, a local anaesthetic in some 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 watch a video. A complete understanding of your wishes and condition are our starting point, treatment when needed 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.