If you are experiencing pain and swelling in your mouth, your first though may be that you have an infected tooth or an infection of the gums. However, one lesser known cause of mouth pain are salivary stones. Salivary stones cause a number of different painful situations, but can be dealt with and prevented if you are prone to them.
What is a Salivary Stone?
Salivary stones, much like tonsil stones, are a build-up of calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate that eventually harden into a small stone within your salivary gland. These stones block the release of saliva, causing pain and discomfort. The blockage of saliva also contributes to saliva stones getting larger.
Salivary stones negatively impact your body by creating extreme discomfort in the affected salivary gland. This discomfort can become magnified when one has stimulation of the affected gland. The magnification of the discomfort can be caused by different factors.
One of the factors than can magnify the discomfort is the simple act of eating. When you are eating, the food may come into contact with the problem gland. This can lead to increased pain and discomfort, as the salivary gland is infected and sensitive to stimulus.
If you have salivary stones, then the infected salivary glands will cause pain through the simple thought of food! This is due the fact that when you smell or think about food, your salivary glands naturally start to produce saliva. The release of this saliva into your mouth is blocked by the stone, or painful due to saliva being forced out of a infected, restricted gland. Pus can sometimes come from the affected gland, which is not only painful, but quite off-putting as well, as the pus will be released directly into your mouth.
Salivary stones can also cause swelling of the face and the neck, pain in your jaw area, and a dry mouth as saliva production is blocked.
The treatment of salivary stones normally involves removing the salivary stone, although in extreme cases it may be necessary to remove the gland itself to prevent further inflammation.
Removal of the stone can be accomplished through surgical means. In the case of a smaller stone, you can eat sour foods in order to stimulate the production of saliva, which may expel the stone without surgery. Salivary stones can also be removed through non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and hydration, which will flush the salivary stones out of the affected salivary gland.
A trained ENT or maxillofacial surgeon can also remove the stone if other non-invasive methods are unsuccessful. Salivary stones can be detected through X-Rays, although in approximately 20% of the cases of stone formation the size of the stone is too small to be detectable on conventional X-Ray scans. In the case of these smaller stones, your dentist will be able to detect their presence through a simple oral examination of your salivary glands.
Prevention of salivary stones is achieved by making sure that you drink enough water to keep your salivary glands hydrated. Dehydration of the salivary glands is one leading cause of the formation of salivary stones. You can also massage your different salivary glands after meals to ensure that a build-up of saliva is properly released into your mouth. The flow of saliva can also be increased by consuming different natural substances. Dandelion root, chamomile, and mugwort are just some of the herbal remedies that will help increase saliva production.
Fortunately, salivary stones are fairly rare. Only 1.2% of the population develop salivary stones. They are twice as common in men as in women and they normally occur in people between the ages of thirty and sixty. Children very rarely develop salivary stones.
For more information. contact the experts at a local clinic, like Valley Oak Dental Group Inc.