Technical note: Compatibility of microtomographic imaging systems for dental measurements

Authors

  • Anthony J. Olejniczak,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
    • Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • Paul Tafforeau,

    1. Laboratoire de Géobiologie, Biochronologie et Paléontologie Humaine, UMR CNRS 6046, 40 avenue du Recteur Pineau, F-86022 Poitiers cedex, France
    2. European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, 6 rue Jules Horowitz, BP 220, 38043 Grenoble Cedex, France
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  • Tanya M. Smith,

    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • Heiko Temming,

    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • Jean-Jacques Hublin

    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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Abstract

Modern micro-computed tomography techniques allow the accurate visualization of internal dental structures, and are becoming widely used within (paleo-) anthropological dental studies. There exist several types and name brands of microtomographic systems, however, which have been demonstrated to produce images that vary in resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. As a growing body of dental research using disparate microtomographic techniques is likely to continue accumulating, it is imperative that different systems are compared to ensure that results are comparable and not machine-dependent. In the present study, we compare volume, surface area, and linear measurements recorded on a sample of modern and fossil teeth using four microtomographic systems (three laboratory scanners, and the ID19 beamline of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility). Results indicate that measurements are comparable between systems (within 3%), but that synchrotron radiation is superior to the other systems because its monochromatic X-rays prevent beam hardening and its parallel beam prevents geometric artifacts in the resultant images, making it easier to record measurements and see fine details at the enamel cervix or dentine horn tips. Although the synchrotron produces higher resolution images with less artifacts, results indicate that for gross morphological measurements (e.g., enamel cap volume, intercuspal distances), each of the scanners produces approximately the same measurements. Combining measurements of teeth from multiple microCT systems presupposes that measurements from each system are comparable; the research presented here indicates that this is the case when teeth are not severely diagenetically remineralized. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary