Sialolithiasis usually begins as a painful lump under the tongue. The stone blocks the flow of saliva so pain might increase while eating.
Sialadenitis creates a painful lump in the cheek or under the chin. Foul-tasting pus drains into the mouth. Fever can occur.
Generalized viral infections cause fever, headache, muscle aches and joint pain in the entire body. If the virus settles in the parotid glands, both sides of the face enlarge in front of the ears.
A mucocele, a common cyst on the inside of the lower lip, can burst and drain yellow mucous. Other cysts can hinder eating, speaking or swallowing.
With tumors, a cancerous or non-cancerous lump can grow in the roof of the mouth, the cheek, on the tongue or under the chin. It often glows slowly and is painful.
Sjögren's syndrome causes decreased moisture in glands. Dry mouth, tooth decay, mouth sores, enlarged salivary glands, sialoliths, and recurrent salivary gland infections are possible symptoms. The syndrome also effects moisture in the eyes, which might cause chronic eye infections, corneal ulcers and vision loss.
Sialadenosis is usually painless, but the paratoid glands enlarge.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of stone formation is not known, but certain factors might contribute to the condition:
- Dehydration, which thickens the saliva
- Decreased food intake that lowers the demand for saliva
- Antihistamines, blood pressure medications, psychiatric medications and other medication can decrease saliva production
Factors that increase the risk to develop sialadenitis:
- Dehydration, malnutrition, eating disorders
- Recent surgery, chronic illness, cancer, prematurity
- Antihistamines, diuretics, psychiatric medications, blood pressure medications, barbiturates
- History of Sjögren's syndrome
- Air blowing occupations (trumpet playing, glass blowing)
Risk factors for pleomorphic adenomas:
- Radiation exposure
The risk factors for salivary gland cancers:
- Sjögren's syndrome
- Exposure to radiation
Sialadenosis is more likely to develop in people who are obese, pregnant or breastfeeding, are malnourished or have eating disorders, alcoholics with liver cirrhosis, and those who have kidney failure or thyroid problems.