A photographic technique for natural head posture (NHP) recording that can be associated to standard radiographic exposures is presented. It allows the evaluation of radiographs, according to both the standard intracranial references and NHP. On the NHP photograph, the angle between the soft tissue nasion-pogonion line and the true vertical is calculated and this value is used to rotate the standard radiograph around the Bolton point. The technique has been applied to 40 private orthodontic patients (24 females and 16 males, aged 7 to 20 years, mean 12.9 years). The hard tissue Frankfurt plane in NHP showed a wide variation: 80% of the patients had orbitale lower than porion (mean angle −6° relative to the ground), 20% had orbitale higher than porion (mean angle 4°). The position of this plane in NHP seemed to be different in the two sexes, with more males having the Frankfurt plane going upwards than females. The soft tissue Frankfurt plane (tragus-orbitale) in NHP was directed upwards (head extended) in 53% of patients. The two Frankfurt planes were never coincident in all subjects; the tragus was always lower and more anterior than porion. On average, the angle tragus-orbitale-porion was about 6°. In young orthodontic patients NHP is therefore highly variable, gender dependent, and cannot be deduced from mean population values. Nevertheless, the evaluation of head position should be performed in each young patient before and during the treatment, to verify how the combined effects of therapy and growth act.
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