Salivary Gland Inflammation

The reasons for salivary gland inflammation (sialodenitis) are numerous, but they all result in a blockage of saliva passage from the gland (production center) through the salivary gland’s duct & orifice (the exit).

This blockage can be from:

  • Inflammation around the duct’s orifice from trauma like a cheek bite.

  • Inflammation of the gland or duct itself from bacteria or viruses.

  • Physical Obstruction of the saliva flow; commonly stones (sialoliths) and rarely tumors

  • Increase in saliva viscosity; usually from dehydration and electrolyte imbalances

Treatment & Therapy

All the above reasons for the gland inflammation are treated rather differently.

For initial and more conservative treatment we recommend the following:

  • Head elevation; do not lay flat.

  • Warm salt water rinses; vigorously and often (10 times a day)

  • Anti-Inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Naproxen (Aleve) per bottle instructions, and of course, only if you are not allergic and are normally permitted to take the medications.

  • Adequate hydration; drink fluids often

  • Facial Massage; slow but firm

  • Sour sucking candies. The sour sense produces salivary production and the act of the negative pressure from sucking can draw out the saliva.

  • Antibiotics (not always, but sometimes, and occasionally intravenously in the hospital setting)

If certain features/symptoms are present or if initial attempts are unsuccessful, treatment may warrant care in the hospital setting and sometimes surgery.

  • Worrisome features that would require immediate attention in the hospital would include:

    • Facial Paralysis or weakness

    • High Fevers/Chills

    • Severe swelling that extends to your eyes or neck

    • Difficulty Breathing

    • Difficulty Swallowing fluids

  • Surgery

    • Surgery and advanced endoscopic procedures are reserved for for patients with chronic/refractory sialodenitis or those with physical obstructions such as stones or tumors.