Epstein Pearls | What are Epstein Pearls?
Epstein Pearls are very small cysts that can appear in a baby’s mouth that look like tiny, white bumps. They were first described by Alois Epstein in 1880. They generally appear along a baby’s gums or along the top of the roof of the mouth. They are seen in four out of five newborns.
According to the British Medical Journal, Epstein Pearls are caused by entrapped epithelium during palate development. Or, in other words, skin that gets trapped while the baby’s mouth structures are still forming in utero. When a baby’s mouth reaches the final stages of develop, the sides of the jaw and the palate (roof of the mouth) begin to fuse together. When that happens, some of the layers of skin can get “stuck” and lead to Pearls.
Epstein Pearls contain keratin, which is found in skin and other mucous membranes. They may resemble small pimples in your baby’s mouth. They are generally painless.
Epstein Pearls Baby
If you’ve come across small, white bumps in your baby’s mouth, you may be wondering what they are. Although there can be many causes of mysterious bumps when it comes to babies, they may be Pearls.
Fortunately, Pearls are nothing to worry about, but here’s what you should know about those little white bumps in your little one’s mouth.
Can adults have Epstein pearls?
Pearls only occur in newborn babies. But adults can develop a dental cyst that looks similar to an pearl.
Such cysts in adults often form near the roots of dead or buried teeth. They usually don’t cause any symptoms unless they become infected. When this happens, you might feel pain and swelling around the cyst.
Dental cysts sometimes grow over time. If they grow large enough, they might put pressure on your teeth, leading to jaw weakness.
This type of cyst can be removed through a straightforward surgical procedure. Your doctor can also remove any dead root tissue, which will reduce the chances of the cyst coming back.
Causes of Epstein Pearls
Pearls happen when the skin of a baby’s mouth becomes trapped during the development process. As the mouth continues to develop and take shape, this trapped skin can fill with keratin, a protein found in skin. The keratin is what makes up the inside of an pearl.
These bumps develop in the womb and aren’t preventable. If your child was born with pearls, it’s not a sign of anything you did or didn’t do during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Epstein Pearls
Whitish-yellow nodules appear on the gums or the roof of the mouth. They sometimes look like emerging teeth.
Treatment for Epstein Pearls
There is no treatment necessary for Epstein’s pearls. They generally go away within a few weeks, often dissolving as the result of friction with the nipple while nursing or drinking from a bottle.
How Do Epstein Pearls Bumps Form?
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the two halves of a baby’s jaw and palate begin to fuse together. This often causes mucous membranes to become trapped along the midline within the skin pockets, causing the little bumps you’re seeing now.