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Old 04-21-2009, 10:36 PM
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Anyone with experience - blocked salivary gland?

My 4 y.o. has had several episodes of pain/noticable swelling which have caused alarm in our household over the last year or so. We have seen a few doctors including an ear/nose/throat surgeon and have finally determined this is the likely cause. So, here is my concern...the specialist, upon examing my son expressed that T. is the youngest person he has ever seen with a "submandibular gland blockage". Doc. said that basically our only options are to remove the gland, treat with antibiotics (likely there is no infection, so this would be pointless) or hope that he outgrows it.
So. Here is my question: has anyone had this problem? And if so, did it resolve itself, or did you do anything to help clear the blockage? My frustration is that we were told to try to just put up with it, but it clearly causes T. a lot of pain. And medicating with tylenol or advil doesn't work because he refuses to even swallow when it is happening. This really stresses me out. I don't know what to do. Maybe we need to go to a bigger centre and see a pediatric specialist...
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:03 AM
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What kind of blockage are we talking about. Is it a stone? What tests has he had
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:43 PM
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The doctor didn't think it was a stone. He *thinks* it's duct within the gland that becomes periodically blocked. I'm not sure what he based this conclusion on. He didn't do any tests. He examined T. - looked in his mouth, felt the area under the jaw which was swollen and that's it. He mentioned injecting dye and then doing an xray, but ruled this out pretty much immediately as a 4 year old would have trouble with this and would need to be put right out. He said that the condition is pretty common in adults (he has just removed the gland in someone the day before) but he seemed astounded to see it in a small child. He mentioned antibiotics, but really there would be no point. T. has had antibiotics in the last year (since the time this problem started occurring). If there had been an infection, that should have cleared it up. Not to mention that the swelling comes and goes...if it were infected, it would have a red appearance and the swelling wouldn't disappear so fast. Really, we came away from the appointment feeling like we had two courses of action - remove the gland surgically or put up with it for the time being with the hope that as T. grows, the blockage disappears. I'm not happy with either scenario.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:53 PM
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At the very least you need to have an xray or CT scan. You need to see what is in there. You can't determine why it is blocked by feeling it (unless it were a massive stone)
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:33 PM
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OK. That makes sense. You know, the more time that passes, the less happy I am with this doctor's assessment. Initially, we were just relieved to finally know what was causing the problem. But the more that I have researched this and related our experience to other people, the less pleased I am with the care our son received. I'll be phoning his office to book another appointment with the goal of either doing more tests or getting a referral.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:18 PM
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I'd suggest an oral surgeon
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:51 PM
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my fiance, 40, has the same thing! it comes and goes periodically for the last year or so. he just got it again tonight... he hasnt seen the doctor about it but his mom, a nurse, suggested it was a blocked salivary gland..
i'm sorry for your poor baby.. best of luck..

Last edited by littlespesh; 04-22-2009 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlespesh View Post
my fiance, 40, has the same thing! it comes and goes periodically for the last year or so. he just got it again tonight... he hasnt seen the doctor about it but his mom, a nurse, suggested it was a blocked salivary gland..
i'm sorry for your poor baby.. best of luck..
Thanks.
I'd be curious to hear what he finds out if/when he sees a doctor.
I wish someone would have been able to give us a heads up several months ago about what was causing our guy's pain. A nurse in the family would come in handy
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:05 AM
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My son has had a plugged salivary gland a few times over the several years...yes, it is painful and the pain builds over time if left untreated - he would end up on antibiotics which would always clear up the blockage...we've had him to ER due to the discomfort - one of the docs recommended sucking on a lemon - to draw out the infection - can't say the lemon remedy did any good for my son...he is older now and hasn't had blockage now for a few years - so, for him he appears he may have grown out of it...hope this helps
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Old 04-25-2009, 01:54 PM
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I have passed a stone through my salivary gland about 14 months ago, it was extremely painful. I would definitely get it checked a second time and have more tests done to figure out what it is exactly thats causing this problem. Make sure when the doctor is telling you what he thinks it is to ask questions and find out exactly why he thinks it is that. You find a lot of people who will take a doctors word as 100% fact when in fact they too can make mistakes and misdiagnose things. By asking questions it will help you feel comfortable with the conclusion he has drawn and if it still doesnt seem right go get another opinion.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:51 PM
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if it were infected, if your son lifts up his tongue, right underneath his tongue on either side of the frenulum (i.e. the part in the middle of his tongue), the 2 little bumps would look swollen and red. If he is having some sort of blockage of his submandibular gland, he would also have a dry mouth especially in the lower mouth which may make it difficult for him to swallow. Is he having any troubles with that? I'm not sure if this will help you at all because this thread is several days old now too...and hopefully you have solved it by now because the poor guy...I hope things are going better
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:09 PM
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Thanks for the replies all.
Pam and iwtc: his gland is definitely not infected. In a way, I wish it was because maybe this would have a quicker resolution...antibiotics = done.
iwtc: it's funny you mentioned the dry mouth thing. He has never complained about this specifically, but it seems like he is ALWAYS thirsty. I'll have to pay more attention to that.
Eric: I agree with you about questioning and not just acquiescing because the doctor is supposed to know. I think the doctor that examined T. is good - we've seen him several times as T. had tubes put in his ears as a 2 y.o. - I just think maybe he is being overly cautious.
In any case, I'm glad I started this thread. I have a few different things to consider thanks to everyone's input. I still plan on calling the md we saw to pursue this further, but life has been crazy lately and since there has been no flare up, I've back-burnered it (bad, I know).
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:18 PM
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^mm ya, I should've explained myself better...lol, it may be possible because the submandibular gland is one of our salivary glands so the block would prevent saliva from coming into the lower part of his mouth although the opening for the submandibular gland is also for the sublingual gland so he wouldn't have total dryness. The parotid gland opens into your upper mouth to keep things simple which is why I say the lower mouth would be drier...

but definately if you're not comfortable with one doctor, do get a different opinion and again, hope this works out for him and its good to hear that he's okay right now
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:00 PM
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It is a gross simplification to suggest that a single blocked gland would cause noticeable dry mouth. There are head and neck radiation patients with totally nuked glands who do not report noticeable/behavior-altering dryness
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:26 PM
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^no no, I was just saying it was a possibility not that it was hard set. A lot also depends on patient history. I was only saying that yes, it may be possible as mentioned before not that it was the only explanation. That was just the first thing that came to my mind...or an obstruction of the duct due to something pressing on it because of its on/off nature...or possibly many other causes. There are always differentials in medicine and without proper patient history and tests, it is hard to rule them out. But to make myself clear, I said 'it may be possible' before explaining the mechanisms behind it.
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