ORIENTATION VS. ORIENTATION: IMAGE PROCESSING FOR STUDIES OF DENTAL MORPHOLOGY
Keywords: automated digital odontometry (aDo), micro-CT, 3d reconstructions of teeth, palaeoanthropology, Sunghir, object orientation
Abstract. Many odontological studies held through application of traditional and modern techniques, especially when related to measurements and morphology, very much depend on methodological aspects referred to orientation of teeth. And this is particularly relevant to new imaging and 3d reconstruction implemented in dental research and practice in a wide range of disciplines from anthropology to dentistry. The current paper deals with studies of palaeoanthropological findings dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic period in Central Russia – well-known archaeological site of Sunghir. Micro-computed tomography has been used for digital reconstructions of teeth – molars and premolars representing well-preserved dental morphology of an adolescent individual. This is due to new opportunities introduced by 3d reconstruction techniques in general and high-resolution x-ray imaging in particular that this study has become relevant. Thus digital techniques do not only provide for operating convenience but, which is even more important, allow application of image processing algorithms. In the suggested methodology these are automated, based on morphological interpretations and serve for orientation of studied teeth for further measurements. At the same time micro-computed tomographic imaging allows accurate reconstruction of other morphologically important structures which are used for an alternative orientation algorithm. Comparisons of dental measurements’ results obtained through automated digital odontometry (aDo) after both orientations applied are presented in the current paper.