A human has three major salivary glands -- the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands -- plus hundreds of other minor salivary glands in and around his mouth and throat, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. While the glands secrete saliva into the mouth, the salivary ducts drain the saliva. These ducts can become obstructed by stones, which are crystallised minerals, or tumours. This can cause the saliva to back up into the salivary gland, and leads to pain and swelling in the neck, face and mouth as well as dry mouth. Unclogging salivary duct obstructions requires treatment by a medical professional.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
See a doctor if you suspect you have a salivary duct obstruction.
Submit to an X-ray, CAT scan, ultrasound or MRI to locate the obstruction.
Allow the doctor to manually massage the stone out of the duct if the obstruction is small. If this doesn't work, he may numb the opening of the duct, and probe and dilate it to help the stone pass. For larger stones or tumours, surgical removal is required.
Drink six to eight glasses of water per day, maintain good dental hygiene and if you smoke, quit once the obstruction has been cleared to avoid recurrence.
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