Health A-Z

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The treatment varies, depending on the disorder:

  • Sialolithiasis. If the stone is located near the end of the duct, your doctor may be able to press it out gently. Deeper stones can be removed with surgery.

  • Sialadenitis. Treatment includes:

    • Drinking fluids or receiving fluids intravenously

    • Antibiotics

    • Warm compresses on the infected gland

    • Encouraging saliva flow by chewing sour, sugarless candies or by drinking orange juice

If these methods do not cure the infection, surgery can drain the gland.

  • Viral infections. These infections almost always go away on their own. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms through:

    • Rest

    • Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration

    • Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain and fever

  • Cysts. A small cyst may drain on its own without treatment. Larger cysts can be removed using traditional surgery or laser surgery.

  • Benign tumors. Noncancerous tumors usually are removed surgically. In some cases, radiation treatments are given after surgery to prevent the tumor from returning.

  • Malignant tumors. Smaller, early stage, low-grade tumors often can be treated with surgery alone. However, larger, high-grade tumors usually require radiation following surgery. Inoperable tumors are treated with radiation or chemotherapy.

  • Sjogren's syndrome. The main symptom related to the salivary glands is a dry mouth. Options include:

    • Medication to stimulate more saliva secretion, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac)

    • Sugarless gum and candy to stimulate saliva production

    • Avoiding medications that can make dry mouth worse

    • Not smoking

    Good oral hygiene is a must. People with Sjogren's have teeth and gum problems because of low saliva secretion.

  • Sialadenosis. Treatment is aimed at correcting any underlying medical problem. Once the medical problem improves, the salivary glands should shrink to normal size.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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