Segmenting tooth components in dental X-ray images using Gaussian kernel- based conditional spatial Fuzzy C-Means clustering algorithm

Arna Fariza, Agus Zainal Arifin, Eha Renwi Astuti, Takio Kurita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Tooth component segmentation is a crucial task in computer-aided design for forensic odontology, especially to estimate chronological age. Tooth segmentation on radiographic data is a very challenging task due to noise, low contrast, and uneven illumination. The Fuzzy C-Means clustering is generally used for image segmentation that allow pixels to be classified into one or more clusters according to their membership value. However, this clustering method still has problems associated with the shifting of cluster centers and sensitivity to the overlapping intensity distributions between classes. This paper proposes a modified strategy of the conditional spatial Fuzzy C-Means (csFCM) that incorporates global and spatial information into a weighted membership function by replacing the Euclidean distance with the Gaussian kernel distance to increase insensitivity to noise and outliers. The aim of this paper is to divide the tooth into 3 components, i.e. enamel, dentine, and pulp. Therefore, this modified algorithm is preceded by dental X-ray image pre-processing and continued by combining each dental component clusters into one composite image. The tooth image is pre-processed using Contrast Limited Adequate Histogram Equalization (CLAHE) and gamma adjustment to enhance the dental X-ray images quality from the non-uniform lighting. The Gausian kernel-based conditional spatial Fuzzy C-Means (GK-csFCM) segments the dental image into four class clusters, namely enamel, dentine, pulp, and background. Through iterations, the resulting cluster centers are more convergent with real cluster centers, thus ensuring the proposed method improves the drawback of inherent FCM-based methods and further promoting image segmentation performance. The experimental results on the real dental X-ray images showed that GK-csFCM has better performance than the typical FCM and csFCM clustering algorithms in terms of both qualitative and quantitative metrics, i.e. accuracy, specificity, sensitivity, and precision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalInternational Journal of Intelligent Engineering and Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Dental X-ray
  • Gaussian kernel based
  • Spatial fuzzy c-means
  • Tooth component segmentation


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