Community Help: What the otolaryngology doctor told me about my jaw swelling
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This may help others who have had this same jaw swelling problem I had, so here is the story that I went through, what the doctor told me, and what worked to help cure the swelling. First off, the type of doctor you have to see for this problem is called an ear, nose and throat specialist, they are called ENT doctors or "otolaryngology doctors". This is important to know so you don't waste your time at a doctors clinic, go to an ENT specialist doctor if you have this issue. The exact jaw swelling problem I had was that everytime I ate food, immediately the back of my jaw and front bottom section area of my ear would swell up. If you put your hand at the back of your jawline, where it curves up to your ear, thats the area that was swelling, and the earlobe up to the lower half of my ear, in front of the ear, that area was swelling also any time I ate food or even drinks. This was only happening on one side of my face too, not both sides. Anyways like most people, I googled it and read about it and found out there is a salivory gland called the parotid gland, and this parotid gland can swell up if its blocked, and may have a stone in the gland duct or may have something growing in there blocking it. So of course I was paranoid and worried like most, and tried sucking very tart stuff like many said on the internet (to flush out a stone, etc.). Anyways it didn't go away and I went to see a otolaryngology doctor, which takes a week to get in to see him, so get it scheduled if you don't have it yet, as you can't get in on 1 day notice. He basically goes over the issue with you and discusses your symptoms, then puts a tiny mirror in your mouth to examine the parotid gland duct. The parotid gland wraps around your lower ear and produces saliva which empties in your mouth in the back upper section behind your molars. He said he could tell mine was definitely inflamed but he didn't think a stone was in the duct blocking it. He rubbed my gland lightly (pulled it forward lightly across the jaw) while looking at the parotid duct and said he's seeing clear saliva coming out, which was a good sign because that meant there was no infection in the parotid gland or duct. So anyways he told me for the next week I need to start drinking alot of water. 8 full glasses a day, and said I need to be going to the bathroom all the time or I'm not drinking enough. He also said to apply a heat pad, you can buy those small heat pads that you microwave for 10 seconds and they are really hot, those work well for this and are good to have as they are reusable again and again. He thought the saliva mucous up in my duct was just thickened and solid from not drinking enough water daily (which also shows the importance of drinking enough fluids in your daily routine). So by drinking a ton of water and applying a heat pad, it would warm it up and try to flush it out. He said if that didn't work over the next week then I should come back in and do a CT scan (which a cat scan is radiation and I didn't want that), and the CT scan would show whats blocking the duct. Anyways I figured for sure this wasn't going away, I had it for roughly 5 days before I called the ENT doctor, then had it for 5 days after that, and it seemed to be getting worse, but part of that was because I kept massaging it lightly and pressing on it with the heat pad when it was swelling up after eating, so it was sore and irritated. Eventually one morning I got up and ate, and I was shocked that it didn't swell. Whatever it was it either flushed clear that morning or that previous night, but I was actually going to call the doctor back and schedule the CT scan that day, but I was SO HAPPY it was gone! I did call the ENT doctor back because I thought it was important to give him the update, so he would know that worked and may help others going forward. The key thing is that you should see the otolaryngology doctor if you have this as you need to make sure its not infected as that can lead to other complications, and he also told me its important that the swelling goes down after eating too. He said if it stays swollen then I need to get back in there to see him. Mine stayed swollen for 15-30 minutes after eating, but gradually decreased, but was sore from my pushing and rubbing it on it. I used the heat pad to gradually "milk" it forward when swollen, basically sliding forward from the ear lobe to the front or slightly downward as if you are trying to use the heat to melt and milk it out. You don't have to press hard for this, just lightly and drink alot of water to make sure it can be flushed. I have to say I was very skeptical, I figured for sure I needed to get stone or something cut out of there, but this procedure worked and the ENT doctor was right. Also even if you have a stone in there, or whether its just hardened or thick, the water and heat combination can work in both cases and help flush it clear. Just keep in mind it was about 5 -6 full days for me, drinking 8 large glasses of water and applying heat everytime I ate and even some massaging and heat when it wasn't swollen (because I could massage it more when it wasn't hurting), so its not like it happened in one or two days. Hopefully this information helps you all out.