Saliva can be considered as an ultrafiltrate of plasma. This fact has allowed the use of saliva as a medium for the diagnostic testing of levels of ethanol, drugs of abuse and other substances.
The efferent pathway involves the auriculotemporal nerve, which conveys parasympathetic fibres via the otic ganglion to the parotid gland, and the chorda tympani nerve, which supplies the submandibular and sublingual glands.
Salivary function studies
Sialometry: salivary flow rate;
Salivary gland biopsy, usually of labial minor salivary glands; Contrast sialography;
Salivary scintigraphy with radiolabelled isotopes, e.g. technetium radionuclides.
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