Epstein pearls are whitish-yellow cysts that form on the gums and roof of the mouth in a newborn baby.
Milia is a similar kind of skin problem in babies.
Gingival cysts of the newborn
Epstein pearls occur only in newborns and are very common. They are seen in about 4 out of 5 newborns.
Whitish-yellow nodules appear on the gums or the roof of the mouth. They sometimes look like emerging teeth.
Exams and Tests
An exam confirms that these are Epstein pearls and not teeth present at birth (natal teeth).
No treatment is necessary. The condition is harmless.
Epstein pearls disappear within 1 to 2 weeks of birth.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If you are concerned about Epstein pearls in your infant, talk to your health care provider during a routine well-baby checkup.
Hellstein JW. Odontogenesis, odontogenic cysts, and odontogenic tumors. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 93.
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.