Salivary gland stones are pebble-shaped calcifications that form within the glands responsible for salivary secretion or in one of their channels, preventing the flow of saliva into the mouth.
Most salivary gland stones appear in the submandibular glands, and in lesser cases, they affect the parotid glands in the cheek or sublingual glands. People with this condition usually have several stones, and they cannot always be seen.
Salivary gland stones usually consist of crystallized calcifications caused by calcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite, and cause swelling and pain in the face and pharynx, symptoms may appear on one or both sides of the mouth.
Are salivary gland stones dangerous? What are their causes and how are they diagnosed? Can salivary gland stones be treated? Find out the answers by continuing to read the article.
Causes of salivary gland stones
The reasons for the formation of stones are still not completely known to doctors, but there are some factors that can lead to a thickening of saliva and increase the risk of calcification and injury to a person. These factors include:
- Dehydration as a result of fluid intake in small quantities, illness, or medications such as diuretics for patients High pressure
- Oral injuries
- Gum disease
- Males are more susceptible to infection
- Radiotherapy on the head, neck or jaw
- Taking medications that affect salivation and cause dryness, such as anticholinergics
- Gout or Sjogren's syndrome
- Having kidney problems
- Not taking enough fluids and water
Symptoms of salivary gland stones
Salivary gland stones vary in size but are usually hard and white.
Small salivary gland stones usually cause no symptoms when they form and can sometimes go away on their own.
On the other hand, large stones may prevent saliva flow due to obstruction of the gland's duct. As a result, saliva accumulates behind the stone in the mouth, which leads to swelling and pain.
Common salivary gland blockage symptoms include:
Pain in the face and pharynx worsen before or during eating due to the salivary glands secreting saliva to facilitate eating. When saliva does not flow through the ducts, it refluxes in the gland, causing
- A sore or painful lump under the tongue
- Swelling and pain below the jaw and face or around the ear
- A dry mouth Difficulty swallowing or opening the mouth
Saliva stones can sometimes lead to an infection in or around the affected gland due to a collection of stagnant saliva. Symptoms of this infection include:
- A collection of pus around the jaw stone
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Redness of the affected area
How are salivary gland stones diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose salivary gland stones with a clinical physical examination, taking a medical history, asking about your symptoms, and then starting an examination.
Areas of the face and around the neck are palpated, and then a macroscopic examination is performed inside the mouth for lumps or other formations
Sometimes, your dentist may order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis or determine where the stones are in the salivary glands. These tests include:
- CT scan
- Ultrasound imaging
- MRI magnetic resonance imaging
A salivary gland examination may also be performed, in which a radioactive substance is injected into a vein in your arm. After that, you will stand in front of a special machine that detects radiation and takes pictures. About 45 minutes after the test, you will taste a drop of lemon or other sour substance to stimulate saliva production and then take more pictures to check the amount of saliva. remaining in your channels.
Salivary gland stones treatment in Istanbul
Small salivary gland stones usually go away on their own or with a few simple home remedies. Still, in large stones, you will need to perform a simple endoscopic or traditional surgery to extract the stones. These remedial measures are usually necessary to maintain these glands' integrity.
It is important to tell the doctor about the medications that cause dry mouth that you are using such as antihistamines and anticholinergic drugs.
Most of the time, most small salivary stones resolve with conservative treatment without surgery. You may be able to extract the stones from your salivary tract by moistening your mouth, drinking plenty of water, or heating the inside of your mouth near the ducts of the glands and massaging them.
Sucking on lemon drops or other sour candy also helps stimulate the secretion and flow of saliva, stimulating the passage and exit of duct stones.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce inflammation and swelling of the glands. If the doctor notices signs of infection due to salivary gland stones, he will prescribe antibiotics for you. Be careful not to take these medications without the doctor's instructions.
Salivary stones removal in the clinic
If home remedies don't work, the doctor can remove the stone by gently examining the area with a blunt object and massaging the spot to push the stone out of the duct.
Surgical extraction of salivary gland stones in Turkey
If conservative treatment of stones doesn't work, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive surgical procedure called salivary gland endoscopy.
After giving the patient local or total anesthesia, the surgeon makes a small incision inside his mouth near the affected site and inserts a thin tube called a sialoscope into it, which visualizes the system of salivary ducts and locates the stone using it. possible.
A salivaryngoscopy helps locate small or localized stones within the deep parts of the salivary gland.
If the duct stones are very large or irregular in shape, more invasive open mouth surgery techniques are necessary.
Salivary gland removal surgery
If the situation recurs continuously or the stones are stuck and cannot be moved using conservative means, or when you neglect treatment, and irreparable damage occurs in the salivary glands, it becomes necessary to perform a surgical extraction of the entire gland.
How can I prevent salivary gland stones?
You cannot completely prevent salivary gland stones, but you can reduce your risk through some practices:
- drink a lot of water
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a good oral and dental hygiene routine
If you feel pain around the area of your salivary ducts, try sucking on a lemon or sour candy and massaging the gland to stimulate saliva production and allow any stones to pass naturally.
Salivary gland stones are a common problem. The causes of their occurrence are unknown, but there are many predisposing factors for them. Small stones either disappear on their own or with conservative treatment at home or in the clinic, while extraction of large salivary gland stones requires surgery.
In most surgeries, salivary duct stones are removed without any complications. If salivary gland stones persist, your doctor may recommend surgically removing the affected gland. You will still have enough saliva if one is removed since there are many other salivary glands.