Submandibular Gland Stones - What you need to know

Salivary Gland Stonesare calcified structures formed inside the Salivary Duct which can then block the flow of saliva to the mouth. The majority of these stones tend to affect the duct of the Submandibular Glands (also called the Wharton’s Duct) located at the base of the mouth. Not so often they affect the glands under the tongue, called the Sublingual Glands, or inside the cheeks, called the Parotid Glands. Many people who have this condition suffer from multiple stones.


Causes and Symptoms of Submandibular Gland Stones

Salivary stones are formed due to chemicals in saliva which accumulate in the glands. Even though the exact cause is unknown, the factors contributing to reduced saliva production or thicker saliva may be the factors leading to salivary stone formation. These factors include:

  • Dehydration,
  • Poor eating habits, less intake of water
  • Smoking

Or the use of certain medications such as:

  • Bladder control drugs,
  • Antihistamines,
  • Some Psychiatric drugs
  • Blood pressure medicines.
  • Trauma to the gland may also raise the risks for Submandibular gland stone formation.

The stones do not have any immediate side effects; however, once they start increasing in size, inflammation and infection of the gland may follow.

They cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain may be intermittent and may suddenly get worse during meal times
  • Gland often swells during meal times and slowly subsides
  • Gland becomes tender
  • Palpable solid lump; if the stone is near the Submandibular Gland orifice, then it may be felt under the tongue
  • Total obstruction, i.e., lack of saliva coming out of the duct
  • Erythema, or localized redness, maybe a sign of developing an infection
  • Pus discharge from the gland (a sign of infection)
  • Bad Breath
  • Cervical Lymphadenitis, another sign of infection

Submandibular gland diagnosis and treatment

If you show symptoms of Salivary Glands, the doctor will first conduct a physical exam. Other tests such as X-Ray, Ultrasound, or CT scan may also be ordered. If a stone is detected, the aim of treatment is to remove the stone.

For small stones, stimulating the flow of saliva by sucking on a lemon or sour candy may help. However, for larger stones inside the duct, doctors usually have to make a small incision in the mouth to remove the stone. Sometimes for large or multiple stones, complete gland needs to be operated upon.


With improved medical technology and research, doctors use more advanced and non-invasive techniques like Sialendoscopy to remove the Submandibular Gland Stones. Sialendoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure and incorporates a small-caliber endoscope, allowing the doctor to examine the salivary duct system directly. The tiny lighted scopes can be inserted into the gland’s opening to visualize the salivary duct system and identify the location of the stone. Then using micro equipment, the surgeon can remove the stones and relieve blockage. This procedure is conducted under general or localized anesthesia, and the patient can return home the same day.


At Aahan ENT clinic, we understand how difficult it is to live with Salivary Gland Stones. If you are showing the symptoms then please don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with our surgeons. Please fill out our online contact form today.