Gingival cysts of the newborn
Definition of Epstein pearls
Epstein pearls are whitish-yellow cysts that form on the gums and roof of the mouth in a newborn baby.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Epstein pearls occur only in the newborn and are very common. They are seen in approximately 80% of newborns.
Whitish-yellow nodules appear on the gums or the roof of the mouth in a newborn. They sometimes look like emerging teeth.
Signs and tests
Examination of the infant confirms that these are Epstein pearls and not teeth present at birth ().
No treatment is necessary.
Epstein pearls disappear within 1 to 2 weeks of birth.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/10/2010