Salivary gland infections : Treatment

Treatment

In some cases, no treatment is necessary.

If there is pus or a fever, or if the infection is known or thought to be bacterial, antibiotics may be prescribed. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.

If there is an abscess, surgical drainage or aspiration may be done.

Good oral hygiene, with thorough tooth brushing and flossing at least twice per day, may aid healing and help prevent an infection from spreading. If you are a smoker, stop smoking as it helps in recovery.

Warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in one cup of water) may be soothing and keep the mouth moist.

Drink lots of water and use sugar-free lemon drops to increase the flow of saliva and reduce swelling. Massaging the gland with heat may help.

Prognosis (Expectations)

Most salivary gland infections go away on their own or are cured with treatment. Complications are not common, but they may occur.

Complications

  • Abscess of salivary gland
  • Localized spread of bacterial infection (cellulitis, Ludwig’s angina)
  • Recurrence of infection

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of a salivary gland infection.

Call your health care provider if you’ve been diagnosed with a salivary gland infection and symptoms worsen, particularly if fever increases, or there is breathing or swallowing difficulty (these may be emergency symptoms).


Review Date : 3/3/2009
Reviewed By : James L. Demetroulakos, MD, FACS, Department of Otolaryngology, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA. Clinical Instructor in Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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