Mandible & maxilla

Non-odontogenic cysts

Palatine cyst

Topic Completed: 1 July 2016

Minor changes: 8 July 2020

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Palatine cyst

Kelly Magliocca, D.D.S., M.P.H.
Anthony Martinez, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 916
Page views in 2021 to date: 607
Cite this page: Magliocca K, Martinez A. Palatine cyst. website. Accessed October 18th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Common developmental inclusion cyst of the midline palate in newborns
  • First described by Alois Epstein, a Czech pediatrician
  • Synonym: Palatal cyst of the newborn
  • Epstein's Pearls: as originally described, cysts along medial raphe of palate thought to be derived from epithelium entrapped along a line of fusion
  • Bohn's Nodules: as originally described, cysts originating from palatal glands, scattered across hard and soft palate and thought to be derived from salivary gland epithelial remnants
  • Palatal cysts of the newborn: broad term encompassing both Epstein’s Pearls and Bohn’s Nodules
    • Should be distinguished from Gingival cyst of the newborn
  • Gingival cyst of the newborn:
    • Also called Alveolar Cyst of the newborn
    • Small superficial keratin filled cysts along the alveolar mucosa of infants
    • Thought to arise from remnants of dental lamina (odontogenic)
  • Common, up to 65 - 85% of neonates
  • Midline palate or at boundary of hard and soft palate
  • Thought to arise from small islands of epithelium that becomes entrapped along the median raphe as the palatal shelves meet and fuse during embryonic development or from epithelial remnants of salivary glands
Diagrams / tables

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Fissural cysts

Clinical features
  • Small (1 - 3 mm), white to yellow papules that appear along the midline near the junction of the hard and soft palates
Prognostic factors
  • Excellent
  • Biopsy not indicated because they tend to resolve spontaneously after a few weeks
Clinical images

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Epstein’s pearls in newborn

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Simple cysts lined by three to five layers of stratified squamous epithelium, often filled with keratin
Differential diagnosis
  • Gingival cyst of the newborn:
    • Another developmental cyst of newborn
    • Cysts originate from remnants of dental lamina (odontogenic)
    • Found along alveolar ridge

  • Epidermoid cyst:
    • Soft tissue cyst lined by stratified squamous epithelium with orthokeratin layer, without adenexae
    • Often occurs on floor of mouth
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