Sialolithiasis - Cause and treatment of stone in salivary gland

Sialolithiasis is the formation of stones (sialoliths) in the drainage ducts of the salivary glands or in the gland itself. But why are these stones generated? Is there any treatment? Here we explain it.

What are the salivary glands?

The salivary glands are the organs responsible for the production of saliva that is poured into the oral cavity. Saliva is a liquid composed of a mixture of enzymes, regulators, antibodies and nutrients that, among others, fulfills a digestive and antibacterial function. There are six major salivary glands: two parotid, two submaxillary, and two sublingual. In addition, there are multiple minor salivary glands on the lips, cheeks, mouth, and throat.

What are and why are salivary stones formed?

Calculi or sialoliths are mineral deposits that originate in the salivary ducts and they can obstruct the flow of saliva. When the concentration of water in saliva decreases, various components that are present in it such as phosphates, calcium, magnesium... can precipitate and form small mineral stones, giving rise to a disorder known as sialolithiasis. Certain medications can also favor the creation of these stones.

What symptoms does sialolithiasis cause?

When saliva cannot exit through the duct, an obstruction occurs in that canal or in the salivary glands themselves, which can end up causing a bacterial infection with symptoms such as swelling, erythema, continuous pain or during palpation.

What glands does sialolithiasis affect?

It can affect any of the major salivary glands such as the sublingual, submandibular and parotid glands. This disorder should not be confused with mumps, which is a contagious disease caused by the Paramyxoviridae virus and located in one or both parotid glands.  

Can salivary gland stones be prevented?

One way to prevent sialotiasis is to maintain proper body hydration, since saliva is 98% made up of water.

How is sialolithiasis treated?

 If the cause of the obstruction of the salivary duct or gland is a stone, it must be removed to restore normal flow. One of the techniques used to treat sialolithiasis is endoscopy. This technique called sialoendoscopy consists of inserting a device through the salivary duct until reaching the area where the stone is, and using a pickup to grasp it to extract it.

If the stone is too large, surgical removal may be necessary, directly accessing the salivary duct to remove the stone. If there is an associated bacterial infection, the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories may be necessary.

Treatment of sialolithiasis in A Coruña

If you live in A Coruña and suffer from a disorder related to the salivary gland or any other oral problem, the professionals at Clínica Médico Dental Pardiñas are at your disposal.

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