Sialadenitis is a condition characterized by inflammation and enlargement of one or more of the salivary glands, the glands that secrete saliva into the mouth. There are both acute and chronic forms. Sialadenitis is often associated with pain, tenderness, redness, and gradual, localized swelling of the affected area. The exact cause of sialadenitis is not known.
Symptoms of sialadenitis include enlargement, tenderness, and redness of one or more salivary glands. These are the glands in the mouth, located near the ear (parotid), under the tongue (sublingual), and under the jaw bone (submaxillary), plus numerous small glands in the tongue, lips, cheeks and palate. Salivary stones (calculi) may block secretions from any of these glands. The gland may sometimes become infected, leading to fever and other complications.
Decreased salivary flow is a hallmark of both the acute and chronic forms of sialadenitis. The pain is more obvious while eating, and more than three-quarters of patients complain of dry mouth (xerostomia).
The exact cause of sialadenitis is unknown. In some cases, the condition may be associated with the formation of salivary gland stones (sialolithiasis).
Sialadenitis affects males and females in equal numbers. It shows no racial biases.
The disorder is often diagnosed by means of a thorough patient history and physical examination. Recent advances in endoscopic equipment make the diagnosis somewhat easier.
Initial treatment of sialadenitis involves antibiotic therapy and rehydration of the patient. Patients are referred to specialists (otolaryngologists) if any signs of facial nerve involvement are present or if drainage of the swelling is contemplated. If a stone is present, gentle massage may help move it out of the gland. Otherwise, surgery may be indicated.
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A clinical trial on the treatment of chronic sialadenitis with intraductal penicillin or saline produced promising results. Additional study of this treatment method is needed.
Other experimental investigations deal with improved endoscopic techniques for the imaging and detection of chronic sialadenitis.
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Sclerosing Sialadenitis. The Doctor’s Doctor. Last Updated 3/27/2003. 11pp.
Yoskovitch A. Submandibular Sialadenitis/Sialadenosis. emedicine. Last Updated: November 18, 2003. 15pp.