What are salivary duct
Salivary duct stones are masses of crystallized minerals
that form in the tubes that saliva passes through after it’s made in your
salivary glands. The condition is also known as sialolithiasis. The stone is
often referred to as salivary duct calculus and mainly occurs in middle-aged
adults. It’s the most common cause of blockage in the salivary ducts.
Because salivary duct stones cause mouth pain, both doctors
and dentists can diagnose this condition and provide medical treatment if
necessary. Although the stones rarely cause serious problems and can often be
treated at home.
are the symptoms of salivary duct stones?
The main symptom of salivary duct stones is pain in your
face, mouth, or neck that becomes worse just before or during meals. This is
because your salivary glands produce saliva to facilitate eating. When saliva
cannot flow through a duct, it backs up in the gland, causing swelling and
Other common symptoms include tenderness and swelling in
your face, mouth, or neck. You may also have a dry mouth and trouble swallowing
or opening your mouth.
Bacterial infections can occur when the gland is filled with
stagnant saliva. Signs of an infection include fever, a foul taste in your
mouth, and redness over the affected area.
What causes salivary
Certain substances in your saliva, such as calcium phosphate
and calcium carbonate, can crystalize and form stones. They can range in size
from a few millimeters to more than two centimeters. When these stones block
your salivary ducts, saliva builds up in the glands, which makes them swell.
The reason why the stones form in the first place isn’t
known. A few factors have been associated with a higher risk of having these
stones. These include:
- taking medications, such as blood pressure drugs and
antihistamines, which reduce the amount of saliva produced by your glands
- being dehydrated, as this makes your saliva more
- not eating enough food, which causes a decrease in
do salivary duct stones occur?
You have three pairs of major salivary glands in your mouth.
Salivary duct stones occur most often in the ducts connected to your
submandibular glands. These are the glands located on both sides of your jaw in
the back of your mouth.
Stones can also form in the ducts connected to the parotid
glands, which are located on each side of your face in front of your ears. The
stones in the submandibular glands are usually bigger than the ones that form
in the parotid glands.
You can have one or more stones in your duct. About 25 percent
of people with this condition usually develop more than one stone.
How are salivary duct stones diagnosed?
Your doctor or dentist will examine your head and neck to
check for swollen salivary glands and salivary duct stones.
Imaging tests can provide a more accurate diagnosis because
your doctor will be able to see the stones. An X-ray, ultrasound, or a computed
tomography (CT) scan of your face are the some of the imaging tests that may be
are salivary duct stones treated?
There are several different treatments for salivary duct
Treatment for salivary duct stones involves activities to
get rid of the stones. Your doctor or dentist may suggest sucking on sugar-free
lemon drops and drinking a lot of water. The goal is to increase saliva
production and force the stone out of your duct. You may also be able move the
stone by applying heat and gently massaging the affected area.
If you can’t get the stone out at home, your doctor or dentist
can try to push it out by pressing on both sides of the duct. Stones that are
large or located deep within your duct may need to be surgically removed.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest using shock waves to
break the stone into smaller pieces. This is called extracorporeal shock wave
lithotripsy (ESWL) and allows the smaller pieces to pass through the duct.
During this procedure, high-energy sound waves are directed at the stone. You
will likely be sedated or under general anesthesia during this process. ESWL is
more commonly used to break up other types of stones in the body, such as those
in the kidney or bladder.
If you have a bacterial infection in your gland, your doctor
will prescribe antibiotics to treat it.
is the long-term outlook?
In most cases, the salivary duct stone is removed without
any complications. If you continue to develop salivary duct stones or salivary
gland infections, your doctor may recommend having the affected gland
Because you have many other salivary glands, you will still
have enough saliva if one is removed. However, these surgeries are not without
risk. Nerves that control various facial movements and sweat production run
through or near the major salivary glands. Talk to your doctor about the risks of