Sudden burst of salty secretions in my mouth?

I am one year post TT, had RAI x2. Two months ago I noticed a pea size lump in my right cheek, which became painful. About the same time, I noticed occasionally a very salty taste in my mouth, coming from the right side of my mouth, near my wisdom teeth. This salty taste was as if I had squirted a salty solution in my mouth. It's very odd. I went to the dentist and was told it was a clogged salivary gland. The lump resolved, however I continue to experience what I now call "salt bursts". Last week I was eating (nothing unusual) when I had a heaviness along the right side of my jaw, then the salty burst came, followed by immediate swelling under my right ear and jaw area. At first I thought maybe I was having some kind of cardiac issue, but when the swelling started I went and took liquid Benadryl. The right side of my jaw was so swollen it was putting pressure on my ear... Since then, I have had several episodes when it felt like my jaw was going to swell, I had pressure on that side, but nothing happened. I called my Endo, and like all the other oddities I had experienced over the last year, said it had nothing to do with my thyroid or treatment and suggested i go to ENT... passing the buck. Just wondering if anyone else ever experienced anything like this.

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Unfortunately, your endo is wrong, and I'm sorry he let you down. It is salivary damage caused by RAI. I had salivary gland inflammation within 48 hours of RAI. It was very obvious, and my endo gave me steroids, a Medrol dospak. It subsided but returned suddenly 9-1/2 months later. At that point it was painful, persistent and long-lasting (4 months) but not as severe as the post-RAI inflammation.

At the 3-month point, my endo referred me to an ENT to check a somewhat suspicious node, and the ENT thought the salivary inflammation might now be infected. He put me on a strong antibiotic for a week and over the next 3 weeks it finally subsided. I tried lots of other things in the meantime. The most helpful was applying heat using a rice sock heated carefully in the microwave, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2yln_8frcE, and massaging the parotids, http://www.sjogrens.org/files/brochures/Salivary_Glands_Massage.pdf. It is still a little noticeable on one side to a trained eye, and I massage it from time to time. I would find an ENT who understands it. Not all do.

The one thing I would caution you about is this. Do not have a Whole Body Scan (WBS) with a tracer of I-131 while your parotids are inflamed. It can do more damage and negate the scan. Mine did. Also, during this time, see your dentist no less than twice a year for a cleaning and monitoring. Whether you notice it or not, you have less saliva and that can set you up for dental decay. Biotene mouthwash and mouth spray are also helpful if you will use them frequently during the day. Make sure your mouthwash is free of alcohol, which is drying. Listerine now sells one that is called Listerine Zero.

I'm sorry you are having this, but it is not uncommon. I hope with heat and massage, and maybe an antibiotic later, if needed, you will be able to get it under control in a shorter amount of time than I did. I hope this helps.

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Oh yeah! My first inflammation came when I ate some sausage w/ tomatoes and onions. By the time I quit eating, one whole cheek was swollen. My ENT (also thyroid surgeon) ordered a ct of my mouth, since I'd had a huge salivary stone blockage before the thyroid business. Nope, no stone, but he gave me an antibiotic. I get those same cheeky issues - right around my right ear. When I feel my cheek getting hard, I massage, massage, massage. Within minutes there's a release of salty spit and relief. You can also apply heat, and pain reliever if necessary.

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Yes, it was salivary damage. I had a very similar situation. My Endo said it was not related, but the ENT was very confident that it was, in fact, salivary gland damage. I 2nd what Cabro says about seeing the dentist more and using Biotene, etc. I would probably avoid benedryl for treating this issue, as it will just be drying. Drink lots of water - I always have a water bottle with me. You can try sour candies for stimulating saliva, if you can. The ENT said there is a medication for this, but not many people like it very much (makes you sweat more). Sorry you are experiencing this. The pain has gotten better for me, after about a month, but I can still tell that my mouth is dry. I think in some cases it might get better, but if often persists.

Regarding the Endo not thinking it was related -- seems like that's the norm. I find it causes me to lose a little faith in my Endo, for not being more informed about the side effects of the treatment she has prescribed. I am looking for a new Endo, partially prompted by her response to this issue. But I have also found that my dentist was the most informed and helpful in addressing this particular issue.

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MANY MANY THANKS for all of your responses. I have lost faith in my Endo, this being the final straw sort of speak. Your feedback confirmed what I had thought and I have made an appointment with a highly recommended ENT next Tuesday. With all the stress and emotions we go through from being initially diagnosed, the SHOCK of hearing you have cancer, the surgery, the recovery, and the roller coaster ride you are on with medication adjustments and side effects, the very LEAST any doctor could do would provide adequate patient teaching and pre and post operative side effects. Seems so very little to expect to help lessen our anxiety and help with the transition to getting back to some kind of baseline. You have to wonder how they would feel if they, or any one of their family members were treated the same way.

Bless each of your response and it is comforting knowing that you all are always there and can be counted on.

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I'm experiencing gum inflammation and pain in my gums , one year after RAI.

Anyone have the same issue?

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Yes, I had to have my teeth scaled because I skipped the six month check-up. I was just so tired of doctor appointments. I don't recommend that. It ended up costing me time and a big chunk of money. Now I'm on a medication that causes dry mouth and I'm all freaked out again. I go next week. Are you having cleanings every six months? The second year I had three cleanings. It amounts to "pay now or pay later." :( You very likely have less saliva if you had RAI. It could improve next year (mine did), but in the meantime, I recommend seeing your dentist right away.

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