Sialadenitis or Inflammation of Salivary Glands: Etiology, Classification, Symptoms and Treatment


Sialadenitis refers to inflammation and swelling of the parotid submandibular, sublingual, or minor salivary glands.


It includes bacterial or viral infection, obstruction, or autoimmune causes. Sialadenitis acute bacterial is characterized by rapid onset of pain and swelling. In contrast, chronic sialadenitis is characterized by recurrent intermittent episodes of swelling. Painless tumefactions (unless superinfection occurs) occur specifically in autoimmune Sialadenitis and may be unilateral or bilateral. Chronic sclerosing sialadenitis is usually unilateral and can mimic a tumor.

Histological classification of Sialadenitis

Bacterial Sialadenitis is divided into two subtypes, acute and chronic.

Acute bacterial sialadenitis prefers the parotid glands of children and older adults, with two different presentations: nosocomial and acquired in the community.

Recurrent chronic sialadenitis. It occurs mainly in adults (only 10% of patients are children). Usually, the person manifests unilateral swelling of one of the major salivary glands of episodic nature and presents recurrent episodes of acute sialadenitis. This may be due to unresolved infection or underlying ductal abnormalities.

Chronic sclerosing sialadenitis has a preference for the submandibular glands. It is a unilateral enlargement that can be symptomatic and clinically difficult to differentiate from a tumor.


Obstructive Sialadenitis It has a predilection for the submandibular and parotid glands. Typically, it is presented by painful unilateral enlargement of food.

The autoimmune Sialadenitis occurs mainly in adult women and is characterized by painless and stable bilateral inflammations.

Subacute Necrotizing Sialadenitis is a rare disease that affects the palatal salivary glands. It may be an early form of necrotizing sialometaplasia. It appears as a lump on the hard or soft palate, usually painful but only occasionally ulcerated. The etiology is unknown, and it resolves in a few weeks.


  • Facial pain
  • Pain under the angle of the jaw
  • Pain under the jaw
  • Swelling of the face
  • Swelling under the tip of the jaw
  • Swelling under the jaw
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Fever
  • Shaking chills

Treatment of Sialadenitis

The treatment of sialadenitis will vary depending on the type of it. Acute bacterial Sialadenitis can cause swelling important enough to compromise the airway, and therefore the treatment approach adapts to the signs that present themselves. In most cases, the treatment for sialadenitis is performed with hydration, analgesics, sialogogues to stimulate the secretion of saliva, and gentle massage on the gland, usually providing relief to the person. Broad-spectrum antibiotics should be given if the infection is present. Subacute necrotizing Sialadenitis is rarely present, but once confirmed, it usually resolves within 2 to 3 weeks and does not require additional treatment.