There are multiple saliva glands in the body. These include two large glands in the cheeks (parotid glands), two medium-sized glands under the jaw (submandibular glands) and several smaller glands throughout the mouth. When the ducts of these glands become blocked by stones or scarring or other disease process, glands can development painful swelling and become infected. In addition to antibiotics, evaluation of the glands for possible dilation of the ducts or removal of the stones should be done by an ENT specialist.
When swellings of the glands do not respond to traditional treatments, a benign or malignant tumor may be present. Removal of all or part of the gland while preserving the delicate underlying nerves of the face (facial nerve) may be indicated (parotidectomy, excision of submandibular gland etc). ENT surgeons use meticulous techniques to safely remove these glands while preserving function of normal structures surrounding them.