Salivary glands located in the cheeks, under the tongue, and below the jaw can develop sialadenitis infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Normally, produced saliva drains into the mouth via ducts, but when a blockage or narrowing occurs, infections develop. The two glands that are most often affected are the parotid and submandibular glands. The parotid is located in front of the ear, and the submandibular is under the chin. Pain, tenderness, reddened skin and slow swelling may be associated with sialadenitis. There are numerous causes for salivary gland inflammation that result in the blocking of salivary passages.
Blockages can result from:
- Inflammation from trauma
- Bacterial and viral inflammation of the gland or duct
- Sialoliths (stones) and sometimes tumors causing a physical blockage saliva flow
- Saliva viscosity increase stemming from electrolyte imbalance and/or dehydration
Treatment and Therapy Options for Sialadenitis
Treatment options for sialadenitis are determined by the root cause, severity, and any other symptoms present in the patient. Fortunately, many infections can resolve on their own through the use of conservative treatment members such as:
- Keeping your head elevated and not laying down flat
- Vigorously rinse salt water in your mouth often throughout the day
- Take anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen
- Hydrate often
- Gentle facial massage
- Sucking on sour candies to draw out saliva
If these measures do not ease sialadenitis, or if more severe symptoms are already present, it may require hospitalization or surgical care. Symptoms to watch for include:
Other symptoms that demand a visit to the hospital include:
- Weakened or paralysis of facial muscles
- Inflammation that reaches the eyes and/or neck
- High fevers/chills
- Breathing difficulties
- Struggling to swallow fluids
Endoscopic and Surgical Treatment Options
While the best way to avoid surgical treatment for infected salivary glands is prevention, some patients experience chronic sialadenitis. When a chronic sufferer of these infection types has episodes that are overly symptomatic, a healthcare professional might recommend one of the following two options depending on the severity of the case.
Sialendoscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure that can treat several types of salivary conditions. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs this procedure by dilating and inserting an endoscope into the infected duct. This specialized tool has a built-in micro camera to allow your surgeon to look for any stones or blockages, remove them, and flush out the duct with other medications or saline as needed. This is a limited procedure as the endoscope can only fit into some regions of the duct, or the blockage might be too large to remove safely through the duct passage.
The more invasive treatment option is permanently removing the infected gland. This procedure is reserved for chronic sialadenitis sufferers who have severe symptoms or infections that cannot be resolved by more conservative treatments. A parotidectomy or submandibular gland removal will be performed depending on the location of the gland needing excision.
New Jersey Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
If your doctor wants you to get a Sialendoscopy or gland removal procedure, it’s important to research qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeons in your area. An experienced surgeon that offers the latest medical technology in their office is the best option for these types of procedures, so discomfort and recovery time are ideal.
Dr. Nancy Herbst of Union City Oral Surgery has over 25 years of oral and maxillofacial surgery experience throughout New Jersey. Her office uses state-of-the-art technology to enhance patient outcomes and deliver an exceptional surgical experience. Contact her office today at (201) 601-9262 to schedule an appointment and get your salivary gland issues resolved before they become a bigger issue.