Specialist expertise: Ear, Nose and Throat, Laryngology, Sleep Disorders, Sleep Apnea, Endocrine Surgery, Voice Disorders, Dysphagia, Head and Neck Cancer, Salivary Gland Disease, Tonsil/Adenoid Disorders, Hearing Loss, Otitis Media, Glue Ear, Nasal Polyps, Airways Diseases, Otolaryngology, Speech Disorders, Neck Lumps, Surgical Oncology, Thyroid Surgery, Parotid Surgery, Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, Microsurgery, Tracheal Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery.
What are the Salivary Glands?
The salivary glands produce saliva in the mouth. The major named glands include the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. The hundreds of minor salivary glands dispersed throughout the mucous lining of the mouth, nose and throat produce most of the saliva in the mouth and throat.
What are Salivary Gland Disorders?
Disorders of the larger salivary glands are more common than the minor ones. Most occur in the parotid glands, which sit just in front of the ear behind the jaw bone on each side of the face. There are however a variety of salivary gland disorders including swelling and duct blockage from infection, inflammation or tumour.
Common symptoms associated with salivary gland problems include:
- A discrete or more diffuse swelling in the gland that may be slow-growing and painless
- Localised pain and/ or swelling associated with eating or drinking
- A foul taste in the mouth
- Dry mouth and eyes
Symptoms that raise concern about cancer include the inability to open the mouth (trismus), weakness in the facial and eye opening muscles, tongue numbness or reduced tongue mobility.
The salivary glands may be involved as part of a more generalised disorder with additional non-specific symptoms such as fever and joint pain.