Salivary stone symptoms - This is how you recognize a salivary stone
The salivary stone is called in medicine Sialolite and is one of the rare diseases. Mostly adults are affected, but it can also occur in children as a result of certain diseases (e.g. mumps).
Salivary stones are solid, small deposits that form when the saliva composition changes. It is often found in the ducts of the large head salivary glands (mandibular, sublingual, and parotid glands) where it can lead to a variety of diseases and problems. The salivary gland inflammation (Sialadenitis) with which various symptoms appear.
Drinking enough water can reduce the formation of salivary stones and its complications, as water is largely responsible for the consistency of saliva. The stone can be easily recognized by means of an X-ray or an ultrasound examination and can therefore be treated quickly.
Typical symptoms of a salivary stone
The symptoms of the presence of a salivary stone can be very different depending on its size. Only from a certain size does the stone detach itself from the gland and thus enter its duct. There it leads to a build-up of saliva, which can cause various problems.
Typical symptoms of a salivary stone include:
- Pain in the salivary glands
- Inflammation, swelling and reddening of the affected gland
- Dry mouth
- In some cases, abscess formation can occur, and when emptied, pus is released into the oral cavity, causing an unpleasant taste.
Pain can be one of the typical symptoms of a salivary stone. The extent of this depends on the size and location of the stone.
If the stone causes an inflammation of the salivary gland, e.g. In the parotid area, chewing and eating can also be painful. In this case, increased saliva is formed, which exerts additional pressure on the affected tissue.
At the same time, opening the mouth can lead to pain, as the jaw joint and the masticatory muscles are in close proximity to the parotid gland.
A salivary stone very often causes inflammation of the salivary gland.
Both non-infectious factors and infectious factors (bacteria and viruses) play an important role.
- Non-infectious factors include, among others taking drugs that reduce the flow of saliva (e.g. diuretics).
- In addition, narrow areas, scars and tumors in the salivary gland can lead to inflammation.
- Due to the saliva stone, the saliva builds up behind it, causing the associated gland to swell.
If bacteria or viruses get into the affected area from the oral cavity, they are no longer flushed out due to the saliva congestion. Thus they can multiply there unhindered and cause inflammation.
Typical signs of a salivary gland inflammation are swelling, redness and pain.
Read on under: Inflammation of the salivary glands
As a result of inflammation, the skin over the affected area is swollen and very reddened. The redness is caused by increased blood flow, which is often the case with inflammatory processes.
Fever is one of the body's general responses to inflammation. This means that even with an inflammation of the salivary gland due to a salivary stone, the body temperature can increase. The fever increases the activity of many cells in our immune system, which means that an inflammatory process can be combated more effectively.
In some cases, the proliferation of bacteria and viruses can lead to abscess formation in the area of the inflamed salivary gland. An abscess is a cavity in the tissue that is filled with pus. If this empties, the pus drains into the mouth and causes an unpleasant taste there.
You may also be interested in this topic: Abscess in the mouth
An important indicator for the existence of a saliva stone can be a noticeably increased dry mouth. This is due to the fact that the mucous membranes are not sufficiently covered by it due to the reduced formation of saliva.
Dry mouth can lead to various secondary diseases, as the saliva has an important and central protective and cleaning function in the entire mouth area.
Learn more about this at: Dry mouth
Swelling of the salivary glands
Swelling and redness in the area of the salivary glands indicate their inflammation. The symptoms usually appear suddenly and unilaterally. At the same time, there may be pain, which increases when eating.
Read more on the topic: Swelling on the side of the neck
Changes in the lymph nodes
If an inflammation occurs due to a salivary stone, the lymph nodes in the neck and head area can swell.
They are part of our immune system and represent the first filter station for our tissue water. This contains nutrients and waste materials (e.g. pathogens such as bacteria and viruses), which are then disposed of by the lymph nodes.
In the process, these swell, which is why they can usually only be perceived and felt.
Also read: Lymph node swelling in the neck - is that dangerous?
Can you have a salivary stone without pain?
A salivary stone can be present even without pain. Only above a certain extent does this lead to pain. If it does not lead to inflammation, the affected gland will swell, which may or may not be painful. Most of the time, you only notice it when you have to make more saliva.
Forms of treatment for a salivary stone
If a salivary stone is diagnosed, its treatment should be started as soon as possible.
If the stone has already caused inflammation of the salivary gland and its duct, antibiotics are prescribed in the event of a bacterial infection. If viruses are the trigger, treatment is only given symptomatically by cooling the gland externally and the patient only eats soft food for a few days.
If the salivary stone is still relatively small, it can be loosened with a light, professional massage and removed through the duct of the salivary gland. Sometimes an increase in the flow of saliva is enough to achieve the aforementioned effect. In addition, the patient drinks large amounts of water with lemon juice to facilitate removal.
Larger salivary stones are removed by means of a surgical procedure. Various options are available for this.
One method is the endoscopic examination of the duct with the help of an endoscope. This is a medical device that can be used to examine and change cavities in tissue. By inserting a probe into the duct of the gland, the salivary stone can either be retrieved with the help of a small wire basket or broken up with a laser. The resulting small fragments can easily drain away.
If the inflammation is very severe, it may be necessary to completely remove the salivary gland. If there is an abscess, it is opened, the pus is sucked off and the affected area is cleaned thoroughly. At the same time, the use of antibiotics is recommended.
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