In addition to plaster models, we consider a series of eight standardized photographs as an important basis for planning. This consists of three portraits and five intraoral photographs.
Portraits provide us with information in regards to how the teeth are positioned in the face, which represents what the consequences of tooth movement can be on the lips and the entire face. Equally important are the pictures of the mouth, because unlike the plaster models, they also show changes in color of teeth and gums, enamel cracks, and signs of slight gingivitis. Likewise, good photos show the border between the gums and the delicate oral mucosa. All of this is very important for treatment planning.
In most countries with advanced orthodontics, these photographs are recommended and taught as national standard. However, this is less common in Germany. This is probably due to the service catalogs of German health insurance which always provide only two photos for billing. Technically, the treatment planning with only two photos is a big disadvantage and the lack of photo culture in German orthodontics is a great deficiency.
In our practices the standardized set of eight photographs is so successful that we have decided to include these in all orthodontic treatments.