It Wasn’t the Jaw Pain That Brought Her to the DoctorThe woman’s intermittent jaw pain wasn’t all that severe by her own account. It wasn’t until she suffered significant swelling on the side of her face that she decided to see a doctor. The clue that it was something serious was when she couldn’t fit a Q-tip in her ear (which isn’t generally recommended anyway). But when she came in, doctors also recognized something was wrong. They knew that there was a growth on the condyle of her jaw. This is the rounded end of the jawbone that makes up half of the temporomandibular joint. Suspecting cancer, they performed surgery, but they found that the growth wasn’t cancer, it was something they couldn’t recognize. Testing revealed it to be tophaceous gout, inflammatory tissue buildup caused by accumulation of uric acid in the joint. Normally, gout affects people’s hands and feet, and it’s very rare for it to affect the temporomandibular joint. The doctor said, “There’s been very few cases of this reported in the literature.” Unfortunately, by the time they performed surgery, the condyle was so damaged that it could not be made functional again and had to be replaced with an artificial jaw joint.