This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Q: I have a new referral from a dentist for a client with a “gummy smile.” Haven’t seen him yet. What do you think this means?
I would assume that the term “gummy smile” means that the upper lip is retracted and the upper gums are exposed. Assuming that this is the case, the client needs to learn normal oral rest posture. Normal oral rest consists of the lips resting gently together, the teeth resting a few millimeters apart, and the tongue-tip resting on or below the alveolar ridge.
Teaching normal oral rest is an aspect of classic orofacial myofunctional therapy. One of my deepest concerns is that SLP students still are not taught basic concepts like this while still in school. In my never-to-be-humble opinion, all SLPs should have to study the basics of the swallow and oral rest as a part of their articulation training.