by David K. Alexander, MD, Kentucky Ear, Nose and Throat
The glands that produce saliva, the salivary glands, play a critical role in good oral health. The main salivary glands include your parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. You also have hundreds of much smaller minor salivary glands throughout your mouth. They all play a vital role in producing saliva, which is essential for digesting food, maintaining oral hydration and good dental hygiene.
There are a wide variety of problems that can arise from your salivary glands, ranging from cancerous masses to autoimmune conditions. While some conditions may require larger surgical procedures to address, there are many that are amendable to newer, minimally invasive approaches. Utilizing tiny fiberoptic scopes, we have to ability to look into the glands themselves through their natural openings into the mouth and can perform a variety of treatments through this method. The procedures are done on an outpatient basis with minimal recovery time.
Conditions that may be candidates for this minimally invasive approach include:
- Chronic infections of the glands (known as “sialadenitis”)
- Recurrent swelling of the gland (often associated with eating)
- Chronic dry mouth from autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome
- Radioactive iodine-induced sialadenitis (a treatment often given for thyroid cancer or Grave’s disease)
- Salivary gland stones (similar to kidney stones)
Many patients suffer from these conditions and do not realize or have been previously told that there was little that could be done to help them. If you think you may have problems with your salivary glands, schedule an evaluation today with Dr. David Alexander at Kentucky Ear, Nose and Throat (KY ENT), a part of Lexington Clinic. To set up an appointment please call (859) 278-1114.
Dr. David K. Alexander provides services in adult and pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders. He specializes in allergy, sinus, head and neck cancer, thyroid and salivary disorders.
Dr. Alexander is accepting new patients and can be reached at (859) 278-1114.