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We have 3 pairs of major salivary glands (parotid glands, submandibular glands and sublingual glands) as well as minor salivary glands distributed throughout our mouth and throat.


1. Infections

  1. Infections can either be viral or bacterial in origin
  2. Bacterial
    1. Use of antibiotics to treat the infection
    2. Usually affects one side of the pair of glands and is painful
    3. May result in the formation of pus in the gland → Requires surgical drainage

2. Stone Formation

  1. Stone formation within the salivary duct will cause pain and swelling of the gland
  2. Small stones may discharge spontaneously through the natural opening of the duct into the mouth
  3. Larger stones may become stuck at the opening and may require a minor surgical procedure to remove it

3. Autoimmune Disease

  1. Autoimmune salivary gland disease can manifest in different ways
  2. Sometimes it can cause pain and swelling, while in others, it can manifest with dry mouth and eyes
  3. The diagnosis is confirmed with blood tests and a lip biopsy for some patients

4. Salivary Gland Tumours

  1. Salivary gland tumours can be benign or malignant
  2. Tumours in the parotid gland are mostly benign, but tumours in the submandibular and sublingual gland have a higher risk of malignancy
  3. If a tumour is suspected, a needle biopsy is performed to determine whether it is benign or malignant.
  4. The treatment is by surgical excision
Know Your ENT Specialist
Dr Paul Mok
Senior Consultant ENT Surgeon
MBBS, FRCS (Glasgow), FAMS (ORL)

Dr Paul Mok Kan Hwei is a certified specialist in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) and has had a distinguished career in public service for the past 23 years.

He cares for patients with a wide variety of ENT conditions including managing patients with nasal allergies, sinus infections, ear problems and swellings in the head and neck region. His special areas of interests are in Voice, Swallowing and managing patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Dr Lau Hung Tuan
Consultant ENT Surgeon
MBBS (London), MRCS (Edinburgh), MMed (ORL), FAMS (ORL)

Dr Lau Hung Tuan is a Ministry of Health-accredited ENT specialist in Singapore. He is passionate about finding holistic, tailored and individualised care plans for his patients.

He treats patients with a wide range of ENT conditions, such as sinus infection, nasal allergy, ear problems and neck lumps. His special area of interest is in the sub-specialty field of Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).