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What are some symptoms of blocked salivary glands?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of blocked salivary glands usually begin with pain and swelling, according to WebMD. The pain is usually off and on, worsens over time, and only affects one gland. Infection is likely if the blockage isn't cleared.

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Full Answer

The most common cause of blocked salivary glands is salivary stones, also known as sialoliths, WebMD explains. The stones are caused by a buildup of crystallized saliva, which can block the saliva ducts. The saliva backs up into the gland, causing pain and swelling.

Tumors can also block salivary glands, WebMD reports. The most common include Warthin's tumor and pleomorphic adenomas. Both are noncancerous. Warthin's tumor is more common in men and is usually found in the glands inside either cheek. Pleomorphic adenomas are more common in women than men and can form inside the cheeks or in the floor of the mouth.

Medical professionals treat blocked salivary glands by attempting to either manually remove the blockage or dissolve it with warm compresses, according to WebMD. Sometimes patients suck sour candy to increase the saliva flow, which may dislodge the blockage. If these treatments don't alleviate the blockage, the patient may require surgery. Benign tumors may require surgery as well as radiation treatment to keep them from recurring.

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