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Salivary Gland

Salivary glands are responsible for the production of saliva. Problems with the salivary glands can range from benign to cancer.

What are the Salivary Glands?

The salivary glands are made up of three major sets on each side of the face. The major glands are:

Parotid Glands. These are the largest salivary glands. Most salivary gland issues start here.

Submandibular Glands. These are located just below the jaw and may enlarge due to infection or blockage.

Sublingual Glands. These are located just under the tongue.

What Are The Types of Disorders?

Salivary Stones: Salivary stones block saliva from flowing freely through the ducts.  When blockage occurs pain and swelling is the primary symptom and must be cleared immediately to prevent infection.

Bacterial Infection: When a duct is blocked due to salivary stones, infection may occur. If left untreated, infection could lead to severe pain, high fever and an abscess.

Viral Infection: Some viral infections may affect the salivary glands.

Cyst: When blockage occurs, a cyst can develop. A cyst may interfere with eating and speaking and cause extreme discomfort.

Tumor: The most common tumors in the salivary gland are Pleomorphic adenomas and Warthin’s tumors. They are slow growing and very rarely become cancerous.

Treatment Options for Salivary Gland Disorder?

Treatment options will depend on the size, type of disorder and location of your salivary gland disorder. Stones and blockages are often treated by manually removing the stones or performing surgery to address blockage. Infection is most often treated by antibiotics.  More extreme cases such as cancer or tumor may require the removal of the affected gland.

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