Salivary glands are organs that produce saliva for release in the body. The production of this clear, water fluid helps a person eat, chew, and speak. It also has substances that assist in fighting tooth decay. The human body has four pairs of salivary glands:
- Parotid glands-These organs lie on the outer part of a person’s cheeks between the ear and the jaw.
- Buccal glands-These clustered mucus glands are embedded in the mucous membranes lining the mouth and cheeks.
- Submandibular glands-These major salivary glands are located beneath the floor of the mouth, under the jaw.
- Sublingual glands-These organs are situated under the tongue.
When there is a problem with saliva production, it may result from one or more Salivary Gland Disorders. Symptoms indicative of these disorders include:
- Abnormal tastes
- Decreased mouth mobility
- Dry mouth
- Swelling in the neck and face
- Redness in the face and neck
- Pain or discomfort during speech, eating, or drinking
When any of these symptoms is present for an abnormal period of time, it’s essential to see a physician like the ones at Allen Ear Nose and Throat Association. Health care practitioners can correctly identify and treat Salivary Gland Disorders using tests and exams including a sialogram and a salivary gland biopsy. Other diagnostic tests include CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds.
One of the most problematic salivary disorders is salivary stones, or sialoliths. Crystallized saliva deposits can result in swollen salivary glands. These stones can hinder saliva from entering the mouth. When saliva is unable to exit through ducts, the gland will become backed up. Without treatment, a gland can become infected.
A salivary gland infection can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Mumps, flu, and HIV are viruses that can cause swelling and pain in salivary glands. Bacterial infections such as a staff infection often result in one of a pair of salivary glands being affected.
Treatments for these disorders include antibiotics, removal of stones, and increased intake of fluids. By visiting a qualified doctor, you will receive a detailed consultation and clinical examination to assess the current condition of your salivary glands.
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