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Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

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Old 09-13-2003, 09:46 AM   #1
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Post Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

Hi, I am new to this board and am pretty scared because I've been to a lot of doctors and don't know what's wrong.

I have had this funny feeling in my left cheek for about 2 months, like as if I had stuffed some cotton back there a la Marlon Brando. It is also swollen. I don't feel or see any distinct lumps, just a general swelling from around the parotid down to the submandibular area.

My primary care physician gave me antibiotics, said it was a lymph node, and gave me a referral to the ENT if it didn't get better.

The ENT told me to put heat on it and drink lots of fluids and come back if it didn't get better.

My dentist did a bite wing Xray, ruled out an abscess, said I had TMJ and says that it can cause swelling. I have no locking, popping or pain symptoms however.

Keep in mind that during all this time nobody did an Xray or an MRI.

I went to an oral surgeon who says it is parotid hyperplasia. The panoramic Xray showed no evidence of TMJ other than flattening of the condyles. The bite is aligned. However Xrays don't show tumors, is that right? He told me to suck on hard candy and massage the salivary glands.

I did an MRI last week and am very anxious waiting to get the results.

Last night I noticed what feels almost like a tendon in the area between the inside of my cheek, and my gum, in that groove. It's not a round lump or movable, it almost feels like a swollen muscle, it's long and firm and goes back to the hinge behind my molars.

Does TMJ cause swollen tendons or muscles in the mouth? Could this be a tumor? I am so scared and I am terrified of getting the results of the MRI. I don't have any family here other than my mother who is in a nursing home and has no idea that I've been going through this.

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Old 09-14-2003, 02:17 AM   #2
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StylophonePet HB User

Hi PC82,
Welcome to the board

First take a deep breather and try to relax, don't psyc yourself, it won't help.

I don't want to be biting your doctor in the *** but heat or warm pads can only make it worse (if it's an inflammation)
Can you reach the swelling from the outside of your cheek? If so try ice cubes instead.
The cold will increase the serotonine levels in your blood helping to decrease inflammation, BUT not longer then 2 to 5 minutes.
I know it will hurt or make it feel irritated but it helps believe me. Also remember not to hold it against your teeth.
I have a node on the outside of my jaw aswell, and docters can't seem to agree whether it's a salivary duct stone or a swollen lymph node, but they do agree that removing it can only cause more problems in the long run. So I leave it long as it it doesn't start to hurt.
I have the node for as long as I can remember and that's about as long as I have TMJ pains, but it's not neccesarily connected.
Lots of people who are stressed out have jaw muscles which are very tense, my PT theorizes that because of my muscle tension the node appeared. Due to lack of whatever...
My point being, don't get all worked up, the stress won't do you any good. There are lots of things that can go wrong with the human body, but how wrong it can go depends entirely on the person him/herself

Take care, and keep me informed

Old 09-14-2003, 05:23 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply StyrophonePet. I have been under a great amount of stress lately, but really for the past year, assuming a caretaker role for my mother.I will take your advice. I have been told that you can have TMJ show up just on one side? Anyway I will keep you updated.

Old 09-16-2003, 06:23 PM   #4
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I got the results of the MRI back - no masses found in the salivary glands. They did see the lymph nodes on the parotids but they said nothing to indicate anything of concern. Unfortunately they did not comment on the TMJ joint even though this was a head and neck MRI.

Do you know if I can call the radiologist and ask them to write a supplemental report on TMJ reviewing the films?

And I was wondering if a sinus infection could also be the cause of my funny cheek feeling. I have no pain but an odd feeling near my temple. I don't think there are sinuses there?

Old 09-17-2003, 01:14 AM   #5
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What you are describing sounds extraordinarily like a kind of hard swelling which came up in my cheek last Monday, it begins running under the cheekbone and then goes down to the teeth, and it does feel just like a long tendon, almost as hard as pressing on teeth when you press upon the cheek. It came up for me after noise seemed to cause some spasms/pulsing in my face on Sunday, when I woke on Monday this 'lump' (I've been assuming it is a muscle mass caused by muscle tension) was just there. The good news is that in this intervening week it has decreased, someone here mentioned to me that when they developed a similar sounding 'lump' along their jaw this disappeared rapidly after massage (by a professional).

I'm newly diagnosed with TMJD, I don't know why this mass should have appeared on one side only or quite what it is, tomorrow I'm seeing a maxillo facial surgeon and will ask about it. I'm actually not too worried now about it as I hope that it will just subside as I try to take steps to vanquish the TMJ. But will let you know what I find out anyway!

I would definitely ask if your MRI can be viewed again with ref to the TMJ, this is important and after all the MRI's are not cheap!

hugs, Isobel

Old 09-19-2003, 07:05 PM   #6
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I went to see my primary care physician about this, since my MRI came back negative with any kind of mass in the salivary gland, I am starting to think more that this swelling in my left cheek is TMJ. My dentist believes so, he says I have evidence of clenching. The oral surgeon's panoramic Xray did not show my jaw out of alignment but my physician says it doesn't have to be to be TMJ.

She prescribed me Skelaxin as a muscle relaxant. This feeling is very uncomfortable, it literally feels like I have a lump inside my cheek, even though I have probably self-examined every inch of it and found no lumps.

I am starting the Skelaxin today. Has anyone had any results with this?

Old 09-19-2003, 09:22 PM   #7
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I know what you mean, if I press on my cheek from the outside it feels so hard (practically as hard as the teeth), yet from the inside of my mouth I don't particularly feel anything. If it was on both sides of my face I would almost think it has always been there and I've somehow missed it, but I've always had a positive hollow below my cheekbones and that is still there on the right, so I'm certainly not misguided perceiving the hard mass in my left cheek as new and misplaced! I do hate it also, I keep trying to massage it myself hoping it will help it to 'break up' and vanish, and using alternate hot and cold on it, it is smaller than it was initially.

The maxillo facial surgeon said it will probably go if I wear the nightguard which is supposed to stop grinding. For me however it seems to be connected to spasms from my ears (maybe in the Eustachian tube), it appeared after I had facial spasms after exposure to loud noise in the cinema (where I didn't grind or clench at all). I am trying to think of it as being like tension appearing in the neck, if you get a hardened tendon in the neck from tension it can take a while to go, I guess this facial thing is similar. Somehow it is far less alarming to have an injury or 'malaise' in an area you can actually see, something in your head or face which you can only see in a mirror is more frightening, less under control, more mysterious


Old 06-19-2004, 09:39 AM   #8
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Re: Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

From time to time I also get a swollen parotid gland on my left cheek. I've had it off and on for about 7 months, immediatly following the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth. It doesn't really hurt, just feels kinda swollen, warm sometimes, and I occasionally get a small clear bubble inside on the gum. I've been to my MD and dentist, neither seem to be concerned, but just like some of you I also get incredibly worried. I've been researching this dilemma and scary things pop up...from hypothyroidism, to tumors, autoimmune diseases, and cancer etc.

Old 06-20-2004, 06:12 PM   #9
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Thelma-Louise HB UserThelma-Louise HB UserThelma-Louise HB User
Re: Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

I too have this hard lump in my cheek - it was my endodontis who told me it was an infected salivary gland or tmj - turns out it was tmj. Mine has not gone away since it came about 3 months ago. Its making my face look distorted since it is pushing my cheek bone - so one side of my face protrudes more than the other. I have another hard lump on the lower jaw near the ear on the same side. The left side of my face just looks so totally different than the right side. When I first started to notice the change I thought I was going crazy.

Old 06-22-2004, 10:00 PM   #10
lori j
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Re: Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

PC82, I also had the horrible experience of making the decision to have to put my mom in a nursing home, I'm an only child. Thru the years of her illnesses & then that, I did develop TMJ & depression. I went on anti-depressants that helped tremenduosly & also helped the TMJ as I relaxed more & it lowered my stress level. Perhaps a good nerve med may help you also. I understand what you are going thru, it's not ever easy. Hugs to you...

Old 06-28-2004, 04:37 AM   #11
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Re: Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

I always thought that the salivary gland was that little ball like thing that you feel under your jaw towards the front of the chin? Are you all talking about that? If so, does yours get tender? Also, do any of you experience any ear pain or a fullness feeling?

Old 08-24-2004, 11:56 PM   #12
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Re: Salivary Gland Tumor or TMJ?

Originally Posted by singer1
I always thought that the salivary gland was that little ball like thing that you feel under your jaw towards the front of the chin? Are you all talking about that? If so, does yours get tender? Also, do any of you experience any ear pain or a fullness feeling?
I was going to make a post about this, but did a search and found this thread. I have thisproblem that you described -- a "ball" under my jaw, about 1/2" back from the tip of my chin. It hurts a lot!! Most of the time I don't notice the pain but if I touch it, it hurts much worse, and I can't seem to stop touching it

What's really weird is that I have had this before -- the ball getting larger and painful, and then it went away. But now it's back Does anyone know what the hell this is?!

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