Maintaining good oral health is essential for the body to be protected or able to defend itself against the attack of viruses and bacteria. The salivary glands are one of the areas to be cared for, since the secretion of saliva is constant and the eventual presence of stones or stones in these glands can cause important health problems.
The appearance of a stone in the salivary glands, also known as sialolithiasis, is a health problem of which there is a widespread ignorance in much of society. Therefore, it is important to delve into its meaning, causes, symptoms and possible treatments. To find out how to expel a stone from the salivary gland, at we recommend that you continue reading this article.
What is a stone in the salivary gland and its diagnosis
Sialolithiasis is the presence of mineral deposits or stones in the Wharton duct and the rest of the ducts through which the salivary glands secrete saliva. These stones are known as sialoliths and can clog the ducts, causing inflammation of the salivary gland and pain.
Sialolithiasis is common in the submandibular glands, but it can also cause you to have an inflamed parotid. To a lesser extent, the stone may appear in the sublingual and minor glands.
These stones can be formed through the mineralization of foreign bodies, bacteria, and organic detritus. Normally, they are built by two distinct components: an inorganic part composed of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium phosphate, ammonium and carbonate and a second organic part formed by amino acids and carbohydrates.
Diagnosis of stones in the salivary glands
It can be performed in different ways: a physical examination with the subsequent ultrasound of the salivary gland or by the patient's medical history. The medical specialist often notices the stone after palpating the salivary gland, especially if the stone is located in the distal part of the Wharton duct.
Sometimes, you need to do complementary tests to detect stones in the salivary glands, such as a CT scan, an X-ray, an MRI or a sialography, that is, an injection of intraglandular contrast.
We recommend you to know these glands a little better by reading this other post about Salivary glands – Function and what they are.
Causes of stones in the salivary glands
Although the exact cause of the formation of stones or sialoliths in the salivary glands is still unknown, a series of related factors can be pointed out, such as the following:
- Accumulation of chemicals in salivary deposits, highlighting calcium as one of the most common components.
- Blood pressure.
- The use of certain medications, such as antihistamines.
- Poor oral hygiene.
Symptoms of salivary gland stones
Stones that obstruct the exit of saliva from the salivary glands cause pain and inflammation. These two symptoms, pain and inflammation, may subside hours later. In addition, it is important to note that some stones cause intermittent symptoms and may even be asymptomatic, so it is essential to undergo periodic medical check-ups to check the condition of the mouth and salivary glands to rule them out. If you suffer from this oral health problem, you will notice it especially after eating, since it is the time when there is a greater stimulation of salivary flow.
In cases where there is a complete obstruction of the salivary glands by the appearance of stones, the glands react by increasing in size. In this way, they cause intense pain on palpation. In severe cases, fever can appear due to a bacterial superinfection of the glands, that is, an acute bacterial sialoadenitis.
Treatment for salivary gland stones
Dry mouth and dehydration, causes and symptoms of salivary gland stones, can be avoided by drinking plenty of water. You can also stimulate salivary secretion by applying a little lemon in your mouth. Also, here you can see other home remedies for dry mouth.
Still, beyond symptomatic treatments, the main therapeutic goal is to eliminate stones formed in the ducts of the salivary glands. We tell you how to expel a stone from the salivary gland with two methods:
- Application of shock waves to achieve the dissolution of the calculation, thus facilitating its expulsion and total elimination.
- Massage the salivary gland by applying heat, thus pushing the sialolite towards the exit of the duct.
However, sometimes it is not possible to remove the stones with these methods. In these cases, it is necessary to resort to more aggressive techniques, such as the practice of an endoscopy (in this case it would be called sialoendoscopy) or through surgery.
However, it is important to note that sialoliths can cause an infection of the salivary glands and stone formation can occur recurrently. In such cases, it is the doctor who must assess whether it is convenient to perform some type of surgical intervention to remove the stones, apart from taking medication for the infection.