3D IMAGES FOR AUTOMATED DIGITAL ODONTOMETRY
Improvements of existing and development of new non-contact measurement techniques, especially for surfaces of complex spatial shape, allow involvement of various disciplines into advanced technological reality. These improvements have two major directions. The first, being more obvious, refers to introduction of accurate digital 3D images in spheres where real objects have become subjects of traditional study, techniques or manufacturing technologies. The other direction deals with substantial methodological improvements, as they become possible only with introduction of the above-mentioned techniques. Among such is the division of physical anthropology, of dentistry and other disciplines related to dental studies, – odontometry, or measurements of teeth. Traditional odontometry, by turning into automated digital odontometry, becomes a method of accurate and objective morphological assessments in dentistry and anthropology, including palaeoanthropology. As a new method, automated digital odontometry requires interpretations of dental morphology (applicable in digital techniques), accurate 3D images of teeth and software based on 3D and 2D image analysis suitable for automated measurements. The mentioned factors are particularly important for this method due to its inapplicability on real objects. Thus various approaches to obtaining digital images are discussed in the context of their quality and conformity with the studied material and odontometric technique, which currently includes automated orientation algorithms setting locations for principal morphological structures and measurement algorithms themselves, likewise functioning in an automated mode.