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Mouth Diseases

Spit Gland Pain

10/05/2009

Question:

What causes this and if there are no stones only swelling and pain, when willthis go away

Answer:

Not all salivary gland swellings and or obstructions are the result of salivary stones or sialoliths. Although a high percentage are the result of stones, other causes exist.  Blockage of the salivary ductal system can be the result of infection (bacterial or viral), trauma, and anatomical variation (tortuous ducts), or combination of each. There may be other causal events such as tumor invasion that may result in obstruction, but the common ones are listed.

Salivary gland swelling can also be the result of medications that cause reduction of salivary flow, and if the patient is dehydrated, the decrease in salivary flow can be associated with development of secondary bacterial infections (S. aureus).


With trauma, blockage is the result of inflammation and edema of the duct and surrounding tissue, temporarily obstructing the flow through the ductal system. As the swelling subsides or the inflammation recedes, flow will become restored.


Finally, salivary gland swelling can be due to other systemic complications that affect the function of the glands; specifically, the parotid glands are implicated in such diseases as diabetes, sarcoidosis, malnutrition and alcoholism and as seen in some HIV/AIDS patients on HAART that develop parotid gland enlargement (acinar hypertophy).    

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University