The symptoms are usually most noticeable when eating or drinking.
Signs and tests
An examination of the head and neck by the health care provider or dentist shows one or more enlarged, tender salivary glands. The doctor may be able to feel the stone during examination.
X-rays, ultrasound, or CT scan of the face can confirm the diagnosis.
The goal is to remove the stone.
Drink lots of water and use sugar-free lemon drops to increase the saliva, which may remove the stone. Massaging the gland with heat may help.
The doctor or dentist may be able to push the stone out of the duct. In some cases, the stone may need to be surgically cut out or reduced to small fragments using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.
Salivary duct stones are uncomfortable, but usually not dangerous. The stone is usually removed with only minimal discomfort. Some people may feel more pain.
If the person has repeated stones or infections, the affected salivary gland may need to be surgically removed.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of salivary duct stones.
Elluru RG. Physiology of the salivary glands. In: Cummings Cw, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elseiver;2010:chap 84.
Lacey J. Diagnostic imaging and fine-needle aspiration of the salivary glands. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elseiver;2010:chap 85.
Rogers J, McCaffrey TV. Inflammatory disorders of the salivary glands. In: In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elseiver;2010:chap 86.
A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington (2/28/2011).