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Three-Dimensional Image Registration as a Tool for Forensic Odontology: A Preliminary Investigation

Abduo, Jaafar BDS, DClinDent, MRACDS*; Bennamoun, Mohammed MSc, PhD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 260–266
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31829f6a29
Original Articles

Frequently, human dentition is utilized for victim identification. This report introduces a new human identification technique based on the principle of 3-dimensional (3D) image registration of the dentition. With the aid of a dry human skull, postmortem (PM) and antemortem (AM) scenarios were assumed. The skull in its initial state composed the PM scenario. Virtual 3D PM images were reconstructed from medical CT images. The AM scenario was achieved by reconstructing the missing hard and soft tissues of the skull by dental waxes. Virtual 3D AM images were obtained by laser surface scanning. The virtual PM and AM images were registered at 2 levels: arch level and tooth level. At arch level, the deviation between the 2 images was 0.147 mm for the maxilla and 0.166 mm for the mandible. At tooth level, the deviation average ranged from 0.077 to 0.237 mm. Qualitatively, even image fit was observed for the arches, intact teeth, and teeth with minimal deficiencies. As the tooth defect increased, the alignment discrepancy increased. It is concluded that 3D image registration ensured an accurate superimposition of the 3D images and can be used as a robust tool for forensic identification.

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From the *Faculty of Dentistry and †School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.

Manuscript received October 14, 2012; accepted February 22, 2013.

This study was supported by the Research Development Award of the University of Western Australia.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

This study was supported by the Research Development Award of the University of Western Australia.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Jaafar Abduo, BDS, DClinDent, MRACDS, Melbourne Dental School, Melbourne University, 720 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria, 3010, Australia. E-mail:

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© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.