Deviations from the salivary glands - Oral diseases, dental and facial surgery
The three pairs of large salivary glands, the glandula parotis, the glandula sublingualis and the glandula submandibularis, together with small salivary glands ensure saliva production.
Deviations from the salivary glands
The salivary glands have already been discussed with regard to the anatomy of the head and neck in the chapter 'Anatomy and physiology of the head, neck and chewing system'. The three pairs of large salivary glands, the glandula parotis, the glandula sublingualis and the glandula submandibularis, together with small salivary glands ensure saliva production.
Like all organs, salivary glands can cause diseases such as inflammation and tumors. Deviations from the salivary glands can be investigated using the following methods, among others:
- Sialometry (measuring salivation);
- Sialochemistry (measuring the composition of the saliva);
- Sialography (with the help of contrast fluid salivary gland passages are made x-rayically visible).
Salivary stone formation, also known as sialolithiasis, is caused by limescale in the drain or in the salivary gland itself. We also call a saliva stone a sialolite. Sometimes there is only one saliva stone and sometimes several small ones. The size can vary from a few millimeters to a few centimeters. The stone is created by the deposition of lime salts. The majority of saliva stones are found in the main drain of the gl. submandibularis. This is because the saliva of this gland is viscous and the drain is long.
In many cases the patient experiences few or no complaints from the stone. Sometimes clear symptoms occur in the form of painful swelling at the jaw angle, especially before and during meals.
The saliva stones are usually visible on X-rays and the diagnosis can be made in this way.
When it comes to a small stone, it is sometimes possible to massage the stone from the drain. Otherwise the stone can be removed in case of complaints under local anesthesia.
A viral inflammation of the glandula parotis is called parotitis epidemica or mumps. Mumps usually occurs between the fifth and fifteenth year of life. A typical feature of mumps is that the ear salivary glands are so swollen that the earlobes will give up. The mumps has an incubation period of approximately three weeks. That is, there are approximately three weeks between the time of infection with mumps virus and the swelling of the salivary glands. The swelling usually lasts for one to two weeks.
As a teething disorder, mumps is innocent. Someone who has had mumps is immune to the mumps virus for life. If an adult gets mumps, there is a chance of complications. This is because the virus has a preference for the meninges, pancreas and male sexual organs. This can have serious consequences. That is why children are vaccinated against mumps.
Salivary gland cysts
Sometimes a small salivary gland in the lip is damaged, for example due to a bite trauma, and a mucus accumulation in the form of a cyst. This mucokele is a slightly blue swelling with a size of a few millimeters to sometimes more than one centimeter. The treatment consists of surgical removal of the salivary gland. It is important that all glandular tissue is removed, otherwise the mucocele will return (see image below).
A salivary gland cyst can also occur in the mouth floor. This is called a ranula or frog tumor. Here too the treatment consists of surgical removal of the salivary gland (see image below).
The syndrome named Sjögren is an immune disease characterized by dry mouth, dry eyes and joint inflammation. Sometimes the glandulae parotes are swollen. The disease mainly affects women of middle and older age.
The xerostomy (dry mouth) can cause inflammation of the corners of the mouth and a smooth aspect of the tongue. The teeth are also more sensitive to caries and in particular to root caries. The treatment is aimed at combating the symptoms.