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Epstein pearls


Definition:

Epstein pearls are whitish-yellow cysts that form on the gums and roof of the mouth in a newborn baby.

A similar kind of skin problem in babies is milia .

Alternative Names:

Gingival cysts of the newborn

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Epstein pearls occur only in the newborn and are very common. They are seen in approximately 80% of newborns.

Symptoms:

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 (natal teeth).

Treatment:

No treatment is necessary. The condition is harmless.

Expectations (prognosis):

Epstein pearls disappear within 1 to 2 weeks of birth.

Calling your health care provider:

If you are concerned about Epstein pearls in your infant, discuss it with your health care provider during a routine well-baby examination.

References:

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.


Review Date: 5/15/2012
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. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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