The specialist can carry out simple tests to ascertain if the pain felt in the pre-auricular region, the area in front of the auricle of the ear, actually comes from the temporomandibulat joint. Pain that comes directly from the joint indicates that the temporomandibular joint is currently inflamed. This inflammation is caused by proteins that are released from damaged cartilage, bone or connective tissue. These proteins then attack the healthy cartilage, bone and the internal layer of the joint capsule (synovial membrane) of the temporomandibular joint.
If this inflammation is not treated in time (synovitis or capsulitis of the temporomandibular joint) this may lead to lasting damage. Generally, the level of joint fluid in the temporomandibular joint is also increased by the inflammation. This is then called a temporomandibular joint effusion.