A human being has 3 large oral salivary glands on each side, which produce between 0.5 and 1.5 litres of saliva daily. The largest of these glands is the glandula parotis which lies in the area between cheek and ear. Next to this is the glandula submandibularis (lower jaw salivary gland) and the glandula sublingualis (below the tongue), as well as many small salivary glands in the lips, hard and soft palate and cheeks.
The saliva produced protects the oral mucosa and teeth with its ingredients, it has an antimicrobial effect and helps you speak and swallow. A great variety of diseases can occur in the region of the salivary glands, often with swelling and pain. Inflammation caused by viruses (mumps for example) or bacteria are amongst these.
Salivary stones, obstructing salivary drainage, can cause painful swelling, which increases during eating. The pictures show a salivary stone as typically seen in an x-ray image, and after removal.
Picture 1: X-ray (Orthopantomogram) showing a salivary stone in the Glandula submandibularis left (please note the decreased transparency on the left edge of the lower jaw).
Picture 2: The retrieved stone, 7 mm long.
A constantly dry mouth due to diminished salivary production can be caused by previous radiation therapy, a variety of medication as well as by auto-immune disease, hormonal changes or metabolic disorders.
Occasionally cysts occur in the region of the large and the small salivary glands, at the base of the mouth or lip for example, often visible as a shiny blue round protuberance under the mucosa. With lasting swellings or hard areas near the salivary glands a tumour must always be suspected. Here the tumours are mostly benign, however malignant tumours do crop up regularly. Both malignant and benign tumours have to be surgically removed using special techniques.
The treatment of these diseases is an important specialist area for oro-maxillofacial surgery. An appropriate examination using modern technical methods (ultrasound, layered imaging) is a prerequisite for the right therapy. A wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures are available for treatment.
Interested and/or affected patients should address themselves to the clinic during regular clinic hours (Langerstraße 3, 81675 Münchend; Monday to Friday 8.30 to 11.30; private patients should report to the secretariat of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. K.-D. Wolff,). Experienced and competent doctors and surgeons will advise you.