Q: What is Salivary Gland Stone?
A salivary gland stone -- also called salivary duct stone -- is a calcified structure that may form inside a salivary gland or duct. It can block the flow of saliva into the mouth.
Q: What are causes of salivary gland stone?
Salivary stones form when chemicals (mostly Calcium) in the saliva accumulate in the duct or gland.
The exact cause is not known. But factors contributing to less saliva production and/or thickened saliva may be risk factors for salivary stones. These factors include: dehydration (less water intake), poor eating, and use of certain medications (such as antihistamines), blood pressure drugs, psychiatric drugs, and bladder control drugs. Trauma to the salivary glands may also raise the risk for salivary stones.
Q: What are the symptoms?
The stones cause no symptoms as they form, but if they reach a size that blocks the duct, saliva backs up into the gland, causing pain and swelling. You may feel the pain off and on, and it may get progressively worse. Inflammation and infection within the affected gland may follow.
Q:Salivary Gland Stones Diagnosis
If you have symptoms of a salivary gland stone, your doctor will first check for stones with a physical exam. Sometimes tests may also be ordered, such as X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound.
Q: What are the treatment?
If a stone is detected, the goal of treatment is to remove it. For small stones, stimulating saliva flow by sucking on a lemon or sour candies may cause the stone to pass spontaneously. In other cases where stones are small, the doctor or dentist may massage or push the stone out of the duct.
For larger, harder-to-remove stones, doctors usually make a small incision in the mouth to remove the stone.
More and more, doctors are using a newer and less invasive technique called sialendoscopy to remove salivary gland stones. Developed and used successfully in Europe for a decade, sialendoscopy uses tiny lighted scopes, inserted into the gland's opening in the mouth, to visualize the salivary duct system and locate the stone. Then, using micro instruments, the surgeon can remove the stone to relieve the blockage. The procedure is performed under local or light general anesthesia, which allows the patient to go home right after the procedure.
For people with recurrent stones or irreversible damage to the salivary gland,surgical removal of the gland is necessary.
In addition, antibiotics are prescribed if salivary stones have caused infection.