Volume 30, Issue 4 (October 1985)
Biomedical Image Processing for Age Measurements of Intact Teeth
With increasing age the roots of teeth undergo sclerosis. The degree of dental root sclerosis can be demonstrated visually if light is transmitted through the specimen. However, this resultant image is only a two-dimensional (2-D) visualization which misrepresents what in truth is a three-dimensional (3-D) characteristic. We have described an image acquisition and computer processing system for imaging intact teeth, with special reference to the root transparency, which tends to progress from the root apex towards the neck of the teeth as a function of age. The components of our system involve: (1) an energy source with light transmission through table-mounted dental specimens; (2) an image processor with a digitizer; (3) a step motor with a holder to rotate the tooth specimen; and (4) a software package to computerize and reconstruct the sectional digital images. After rotating the position of the specimen, while at each rotation obtaining a 2-D image of the sample, we then can reconstruct the true 3-D cross-sectional or longitudinal morphology or both from these 2-D images. With this new approach, the reconstructed dental images represent segments from different angles of the tooth specimen. Picture element values in each image, quantitatively indicate the optical density, expressing the age dependent pattern of the 3-D anatomy in toto.