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About Your Diagnosis

Sialadenitis is an acute bacterial infection of the salivary glands. Often the duct leading from the gland under the tongue becomes obstructed with mucus or a stone and then becomes infected. It is generally associated with a chronic illness or dehydration. It can be detected by using ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan.

Living With Your Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms include acute swelling of the salivary gland, with pain and swelling increasing with meals. There may be tenderness and redness of the duct opening.


Treatment with antibiotics is necessary, as well as measures to increase the flow of saliva to clear the duct. These measures include increasing fluid intake to correct and prevent dehydration, applying warm compresses to the gland, massaging the gland, and sucking on hard candies and lemon drops to stimulate saliva production. A liquid or soft diet may help to decrease pain when eating. Dilation of the duct may be needed if other measures fail.

The DOs
  • Take antibiotics as prescribed until finished.
  • Take Tylenol or Advil for minor pain.
  • Try a liquid or soft diet until the duct is clear.
  • Increase your fluid intake to 810 glasses of water per day.
  • Apply warm compresses to the swollen gland.
  • Suck on hard candies or lemon drops to help stimulate saliva and clear the duct.
The DON'Ts
  • Don't skip doses or stop taking the antibiotics until finished.
  • Don't avoid liquids. If you can't tolerate eating, then try a liquid diet of soups, juices, and ice cream, and continue to drink water to avoid further dehydration.
When to Call Your Doctor
  • If a fever develops.
  • If pain becomes severe and is not relieved by medication.
  • If the symptoms don't improve after 3 days of starting the antibiotics.
For More Information
National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse
301-402-7364, Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (EST).
National Institute of Dental Research
American Dental Association
Department of Public Education and Information
211 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611


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