Salivary gland disease occurs when the salivary glands can’t function properly or the ducts are blocked to where they can’t drain saliva. Sometimes the salivary gland gets blocked by salivary gland stones, but sometimes it occurs simply due to decreased salivary flow. Salivary gland stones are buildups of crystallized saliva deposits. Another cause is parotitis, which is an infection of the largest salivary gland. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. The goal of treatment is to increase saliva flow to help flush out the salivary gland duct. To this end, patients are encouraged to increase fluid intake. They are also encouraged to suck on sour candies or lemon wedges which stimulates the gland to produce more saliva. Also the patient can milk the gland/massage the gland to try and express more saliva out of the gland. If these don’t work, treatment with an oral (or in severe cases intravenous) antibiotic is needed. Even in the case when antibiotics re needed, it is still important to increase fluid intake, suck on sour candies and milk the gland. Sometimes hot compresses help as well. Rarely do patients fail to respond to this regimen, but if that happens, then surgery may be required.
Call Waco Ear, Nose & Throat at (254) 776-7744 for more information or to schedule an appointment.