Human identification from dental X-ray images based on the shape and appearance of the teeth

Omaima Nomir, Mohamed Abdel-Mottaleb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Dental biometrics deal with human identification from dental characteristics. In this paper, we present a new technique for identifying people based upon shapes and appearances of their teeth from dental X-ray radiographs. The new technique represents each tooth by a feature vector obtained from the forcefield energy function of the grayscale image of the tooth and Fourier descriptors of the contour of the tooth. The feature vector is composed of the distances between a small number of potential energy wells as well as a small number of Fourier descriptors. Given a query image (i.e., postmortem radiograph), each tooth is matched with the archived teeth in the database (antemortem radiographs) that have the same tooth number. Then, voting is used to obtain a list of best matches for the query image based upon the matching results of the individual teeth. Our goal of using appearance and shape-based features together is to overcome the drawback of using only the contour of the tooth, which can be strongly affected by the quality of the images. The experimental results on a database of 162 antemortem images show that our method is effective in identifying individuals based on their dental radiographs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Antemortem (AM) radiographs
  • Biometrics
  • Dental images
  • Forcefield
  • Forensic odontology
  • Fourier descriptors
  • Human identification
  • Image segmentation
  • Postmortem (PM) radiographs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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