Sialadenitis is an inflammation of the salivary glands, which are glands that produce saliva to help moisten and protect the mouth and digestive system. Sialadenitis can occur due to bacterial or viral infections, blockages in the ducts that carry saliva from the glands, or radiation exposure.
Sialadenitis can be acute or chronic. Acute sialadenitis is typically caused by a bacterial infection like Staphylococcus aureus, which can get established when a salivary duct is plugged up by a salivary stone. Chronic sialadenitis is generally associated with decreased salivary flow, which might be caused by salivary duct fibrosis after an acute infection, or an autoimmune process.
Common symptoms of sialadenitis include pain and swelling in the affected gland, difficulty opening the mouth, and a decreased ability to produce saliva. Sometimes there may be redness, tenderness, and a fever. Diagnosis is generally based on identifying a swollen salivary gland, and a laboratory culture of pus collected from the glands. Imaging can also be helpful to check for an abscess, salivary stone, or tumor. Treatment depends on the underlying cause but may include hydration, glandular massage to stimulate salivary flow, and antibiotics to treat an infection.