Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Site Search

Head and neck glands
Head and neck glands


Definition:

Salivary gland infections are viral or bacterial infections of the saliva-producing glands.

There are three pairs of major salivary glands.

  • The two largest are the parotid glands, one in each cheek over the jaw in front of the ears. Inflammation of one or more of these glands is called parotitis, or parotiditis.
  • Two submandibular glands are at the back of the mouth on both sides of the jaw.
  • Two sublingual glands are under the floor of the mouth.

All of the salivary glands empty saliva into the mouth through ducts that open at various locations in the mouth.



Alternative Names:

Parotitis; Sialadenitis



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Salivary gland infections are somewhat common.

Viral infections such as mumps often affect the salivary glands (mumps most often causes parotiditis). This type of infection is now considerably rare in children because of the MMR vaccine .

Bacterial infections usually result from obstruction (such as salivary duct stones ) or poor oral hygiene . They can be seen in people who are dehydrated and hospitalized.



Symptoms:
  • Abnormal tastes , foul tastes
  • Decreased ability to open the mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Mouth or facial pain , especially when eating
  • Redness over the side of the face or the upper neck
  • Swelling of the face (particularly in front of the ears, below the jaw, or on the floor of the mouth)


Signs and tests:

An examination by the health care provider or dentist shows enlarged salivary glands. Pus may drain into the mouth. The gland may be painful, particularly with bacterial infections. Viral infections such as mumps may cause painless swelling of the glands. A CT scan or ultrasound may be done if the doctor suspects an abscess.



Treatment:

In some cases, no treatment is necessary.

If there is pus or a fever, or if the infection is known or thought to be bacterial, antibiotics may be prescribed. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.

If there is an abscess, surgical drainage or aspiration may be done.

Good oral hygiene, with thorough tooth brushing and flossing at least twice per day, may aid healing and help prevent an infection from spreading. If you are a smoker, stop smoking as it helps in recovery.

Warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in one cup of water) may be soothing and keep the mouth moist.

Drink lots of water and use sugar-free lemon drops to increase the flow of saliva and reduce swelling. Massaging the gland with heat may help.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Most salivary gland infections go away on their own or are cured with treatment. Complications are not common, but they may occur.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of a salivary gland infection.

Call your health care provider if you've been diagnosed with a salivary gland infection and symptoms worsen, particularly if fever increases, or there is breathing or swallowing difficulty (these may be emergency symptoms).



Prevention:

In many cases, salivary gland infections cannot be prevented. Good oral hygiene may prevent some cases of bacterial infection.




Review Date: 3/3/2009
Reviewed By: James L. Demetroulakos, MD, FACS, Department of Otolaryngology, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA. Clinical Instructor in Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100