You’ve heard of a kidney stone, right? Did you know that you can also get stones in your mouth?
Our salivary glands produce saliva and release it into the mouth through ducts. Because the saliva has calcium in it, sometimes a mass of calcium forms and blocks the duct. This is called a salivary stone, or sialolith. They can form as a result of dehydration, medications or health conditions that cause dry mouth, or trauma to the duct. They’re most commonly found on the floor of the mouth. The glands continue to produce saliva but it cannot be released through the blocked duct, this pressure can cause pain and swelling.
Want to see one? Check it out!
One of our excellent patients remembered biting his cheek, but the pain and swelling were getting worse, not better. Tammi, our clinical assistant, took a photo of the hard, large swelling.
Dr. Sinacola diagnosed this as a Parotid Sialolith. The parotid gland is a saliva gland near the ear and its duct, the Stensen’s duct, releases saliva by the upper, back molar teeth.
She removed a stone that was almost 1 centimeter (cm) long (that is about the width of the average pinky finger!)
Our patient felt better nearly instantaneously because the pressure was relieved! Now the salivary gland can produce the saliva the patient needs to talk, chew, and enjoy meals!