Automated Dental Identification with Lowest Cost Path-Based Teeth and Jaw Separation

Jan-Vidar Ølberg 1  and Morten Goodwin 1
  • 1 University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway


Teeth are some of the most resilient tissues of the human body. Because of their placement, teeth often yield intact indicators even when other metrics, such as finger prints and DNA, are missing. Forensics on dental identification is now mostly manual work which is time and resource intensive. Systems for automated human identification from dental X-ray images have the potential to greatly reduce the necessary efforts spent on dental identification, but it requires a system with high stability and accuracy so that the results can be trusted.

This paper proposes a new system for automated dental X-ray identification. The scheme extracts tooth and dental work contours from the X-ray images and uses the Hausdorff-distance measure for ranking persons. This combination of state-of-the-art approaches with a novel lowest cost path-based method for separating a dental X-ray image into individual teeth, is able to achieve comparable and better results than what is available in the literature.

The proposed scheme is fully functional and is used to accurately identify people within a real dental database. The system is able to perfectly separate 88.7% of the teeth in the test set. Further, in the verification process, the system ranks the correct person in top in 86% of the cases, and among the top five in an astonishing 94% of the cases. The approach has compelling potential to significantly reduce the time spent on dental identification.

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