Digital enhancement of dental enamel microstructure images from intact teeth

Microsc Res Tech. 2018 Sep;81(9):1036-1041. doi: 10.1002/jemt.23070. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Dental enamel is formed by rod-like structures, the enamel prisms. Groups of prisms are packed together in successive horizontal layers of alternating directions, known as Hunter-Schreger bands (HSBs). HSBs are the major microstructural characteristic of mammalian enamel. The pattern of HSBs can vary among mammalian species and this variability may provide relevant information regarding the species life history and taxon identification. In human HSBs can be used as a biometric-based parameter for personal identification in automated systems. The analysis of HSBs has been hampered by technical difficulties. The low contrast between light and dark bands and variations in light intensity may hinder the observation of HSBs in digital images. This article describes a simple and efficient computational procedure that greatly enhances the contrast and minimizes the differences in the intensity of illumination in HSBs images. Its use can significantly increase the quality and the number of HSBs that can be recorded in intact teeth.

Keywords: Hunter-Schreger bands; enamel; tooth.

MeSH terms

  • Dental Enamel / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Tooth / ultrastructure*