Salivary duct stones are deposits of minerals in the ducts that drain the salivary glands. Salivary duct stones are a type of salivary gland disorder.
Saliva (spit) is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth. The chemicals in saliva can form a hard crystal that can block the salivary ducts.
When saliva cannot exit a blocked duct, it backs up into the gland. This may cause pain and swelling of the gland.
There are three pairs of major salivary glands.
Salivary stones most often affect the submandibular glands. They can also affect the parotid glands.
The symptoms occur most often when eating or drinking.
The health care provider or dentist will do an exam of your head and neck to look for one or more enlarged, tender salivary glands. The doctor may be able to feel the stone during the exam.
Tests such as x-rays, ultrasound, MRI scan or CT scan of the face are used to confirm the diagnosis.
The goal is to remove the stone.
Steps you can take at home include:
Other ways to remove the stone are:
Most of the time, salivary duct stones cause only pain or discomfort, and at times become infected.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of salivary duct stones.
Elluru RG. Physiology of the salivary glands. In: Cummings Cw, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elseiver; 2010:chap 84.
Lacey J. Diagnostic imaging and fine-needle aspiration of the salivary glands. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elseiver; 2010:chap 85.
Rogers J, McCaffrey TV. Inflammatory disorders of the salivary glands. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elseiver; 2010:chap 86.
Updated by: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Associate Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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