(19)
(11)EP 2 531 109 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.01.2021 Bulletin 2021/02

(21)Application number: 11739450.2

(22)Date of filing:  02.02.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61B 6/14(2006.01)
G06T 15/04(2011.01)
A61B 6/03(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/FI2011/050090
(87)International publication number:
WO 2011/095694 (11.08.2011 Gazette  2011/32)

(54)

DENTAL IMAGING APPARATUS

ZAHNÄRZTLICHE BILDGEBUNGSVORRICHTUNG

APPAREIL D'IMAGERIE DENTAIRE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 02.02.2010 FI 20100037
02.02.2010 FI 20100036

(43)Date of publication of application:
12.12.2012 Bulletin 2012/50

(73)Proprietor: Planmeca OY
00880 Helsinki (FI)

(72)Inventors:
  • NYHOLM, Kustaa
    FI-02570 Siuntio (FI)
  • DE GODZINSKY, Christian
    FI-01260 Vantaa (FI)
  • KOIVISTO, Juha
    FI-00570 Helsinki (FI)

(74)Representative: Winter, Brandl, Fürniss, Hübner, Röss, Kaiser, Polte - Partnerschaft mbB 
Patent- und Rechtsanwaltskanzlei Alois-Steinecker-Straße 22
85354 Freising
85354 Freising (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 130 491
WO-A1-2008/072398
WO-A2-2004/098378
JP-A- 2006 204 329
US-A- 6 081 739
US-A1- 2004 254 456
WO-A1-2006/071002
WO-A1-2008/072398
WO-A2-2007/134129
JP-A- 2006 204 330
US-A- 6 081 739
US-A1- 2008 056 439
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF INVENTION



    [0001] The invention relates to a dental imaging apparatus according to appended claim 1.

    BACKGROUND OF INVENTION



    [0002] The history of medical x-ray imaging originates approximately to the time of inventing x-radiation. For more advanced ways of imaging, e.g. the development of panoramic x-ray imaging in the dental field started for over a half century ago. The development of digital imaging especially in the 1990s brought digital x-ray imaging devices also to dental practices. The latest development step in the dental field has been the generalisation of the cone-beam computed tomography apparatus designed for three-dimensional imaging of skeletal structures of the cranial area. Concerning new possibilities offered by them, worth mentioning is e.g. applications related to implant attachment and other treatment planning.

    [0003] Along with the development of cameras and information technology, such as that of computing power of computers, it has become possible to create virtual three-dimensional surface models of different surfaces. In the dental field, facial surface models can be utilised e.g. in connection with orthodontic treatment, as orthodontic treatment can also have an effect on facial shapes. Such surface models have sometimes been combined with information on surface texture, i.e. that of details of the surface / surface structure.

    [0004] The prior art also includes techniques to create a virtual three-dimensional texture model without a separately created model of the three-dimensional shape of the surface.

    [0005] Among others, the need for acquiring a separate device for a particular imaging purpose has been limiting utilisation of facial texture models in the dental field. Acquiring a separate device is not only a question of costs but also of space, as each device always requires a space to be installed and/or stored in and/or where it can be used. On the other hand, each separate imaging always takes a certain amount of time, too. Furthermore, as far as data processing is concerned, there are certain challenges in the arrangements in which creating the model requires combining image information acquired at different times, image information acquired by different imaging devices and/or image information acquired of an anatomy having been positioned in different ways for imaging.

    [0006] Related prior art is disclosed in JP 2006204329 A, disclosing a diagnostic apparatus in which the display unit displays an X-ray three-dimensional reconstructed image and a visible light three-dimensional image created by the image processing apparatus in a superimposed manner. An X-ray tube and a two-dimensional detector face each other with the subject interposed there between. A camera is disposed at a position shifted from the focal point of the X-ray tube. An illumination is provided separately from the camera. It is desirable to use a ring-shaped illumination that is mounted around the lens of the camera in order to reduce shadows due to illumination. In order to further reduce shadows, a plurality of light sources may be used to illuminate the subject from various directions.

    [0007] Further, US 6 081 739 A discloses a scanning device which visualizes a three dimensional contour of the patient superimposed with the three dimensional x-ray image. The patient's head is maintained stationary at a fixed position by means of a head brace and a jaw is maintained in a fixed partially part separation by means of a jaw bite fixture. A rotating detector rotates about the patient's head to obtain a digitized real time x-ray topographic image of the patient's teeth and jawbone structure. A camera is located stationary in the support construction while the x-ray device rotates around the jaw bite fixture.

    [0008] WO 2008/072398 A1 discloses a first photographing instrument and a second photographing instrument are fitted to arms as a common photographing shift member. By integral revolution of the arm around human body (patient) as a subject, the interior image (tomographic image) and surface image of the human body (patient) as a subject can be simultaneously obtained on the same coordination system.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION



    [0009] The object of the invention is a versatile dental imaging apparatus, by means of which it is possible to create for the virtual three-dimensional modelling of a patient's skull at least x-ray image information on the patient's cranial skeletal structure and, further, information on the colours, scars, hair, moles etc. of the patient's face. The apparatus according to the invention includes means for producing not only x-ray images but also three-dimensional images comprising a facial surface texture. Preferably, the apparatus is arranged to enable creating 3D images on the cranial skeletal structure and/or teeth and, with the same patient positioning and imaging event, information on facial soft-tissue surface shapes and surface texture. Essential characteristics of the invention are defined in more detail in the accompanying patent claims.

    [0010] The invention introduces a new arrangement for versatile modelling of the patient's cranial anatomy. The invention enables, among others, using existing imaging devices and avoiding the need to use prior-art special arrangements, which lowers the dentists' threshold to employ the possibilities offered by virtual 3D models.

    [0011] Next, the invention and its preferable embodiments will be described in more detail also with reference to the enclosed figures.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES



    [0012] 

    Fig. 1 shows one imaging apparatus according to the invention, the basic structure of which includes a base construction and an arm part supporting imaging means.

    Fig. 2 shows a receiver module of image information applicable for use in the apparatus according to Fig. 1.

    Fig. 3 shows directing of laser beams from the module according to Fig. 2 towards a patient positioned at an imaging station.

    Figs. 4a and 4b show signal paths according to one preferable embodiment of the invention from an x-ray detector and at least one colour camera via a frame grabber to a computer.

    Figs. 5a - 5c show examples on various virtual three-dimensional facial models.

    Fig. 6 shows a principle according to one preferable embodiment of the invention for controlling certain operations of the apparatus.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION



    [0013] Fig. 1 shows one imaging apparatus according to the invention. The apparatus includes a vertical support construction (11) from which horizontally extends an arm (12) supporting a patient support means and an arm part (13) which supports a structure supporting imaging means of the apparatus, an arm part (14). The arm part supporting the imaging means (14) may be arranged rotatable. To the arm part supporting the imaging means (14) are arranged at a distance from each other an x-ray source (15) and a receiver of x-ray image information (21), which are located at the apparatus with respect to a patient support means (17) such that an imaging station (18) is created to the apparatus which is located between the x-ray source (15) and the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) such that a beam produced by the x-ray source (15) can be directed to go through said imaging station (18) towards the receiver means of x-ray image information (21). The apparatus includes control means, of which Fig. 1 shows a control panel (16) arranged to the support construction (11) and operating mode selection means (19) pertaining in it. In the apparatus according to Fig. 1, the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) are arranged as part of a receiver module of image information (20) which is arranged into connection with a computer (30) via a cable. A means for processing image information is arranged to the computer, and a display (31) to present images created by the computer.

    [0014] Fig. 2 shows a receiver module of image information (20) applicable for use in the apparatus according to Fig. 1. The module includes two colour cameras (22) arranged horizontally on opposite sides of the x-ray detector (21) and aligned at the imaging station (18). Further, light sources (23) preferably producing white light to illuminate the imaging station (18) and two lasers (24) are arranged to the module (20). These lasers are positioned substantially in the middle of the module (20) to the substantial proximity of its upper and lower edges. The lasers (24) are arranged to emit and direct at the imaging station (18) a narrow vertical planar fan beam which casts a laser light pattern on the patient's face. Fig. 3 shows how the laser fan beams produced by the two lasers (24) shown in Fig. 2 can be directed at the imaging station (18) to cover the patient's face in the vertical direction without shadow areas.

    [0015] The invention can employ two lasers (24) of the same colour or they may be of different colour, i.e., the first can be arranged to produce laser light of a first and the other of a second colour. When using lasers of the same colour, it can be challenging to implement the structure in practice such that the lasers (24) produce exactly overlapping beams. This can already be difficult from the viewpoint of manufacturing techniques and, further, alignment problems may also occur later on when using the device. As regards to lasers of different colours, they can be arranged to point at different directions and can be identified in the image e.g. by machine vision based on searching the image for the hues in question. If the mutual alignment of the lasers of different colours changes during use, instead of realigning the lasers (which could require service at the factory), it is possible to fix the situation by recalibration.

    [0016] The light sources (23) arranged to the apparatus can be arranged to produce lights of other colour or colours than white, too. Diffusing foils may be arranged in front of the light sources (23) (cf. surface (23) in Fig. 2), whereby light is emitted from a larger area and substantially evenly and illumination in the target area will be even. Furthermore, the light sources (23) may be provided with polarizers (cf. surface (23) in Fig. 2) which can eliminate mirror reflection from the skin surface possibly otherwise visible in the image of the second camera, caused by the light source located in connection with the first camera, and vice versa. It is also possible to arrange to the apparatus more than two or only one colour camera (22), and the cameras or camera (22) can be arranged to operate not only as a photographic camera but also as a continuously-operating video camera. The light pattern to be directed on the patient's face can be produced by some other light source than a laser and the colour of this light pattern, too, can be arranged changeable and, even when produced by a laser, its colour can be some other than the conventional red, such as preferably particularly green.

    [0017] When the structure supporting the imaging means (14) of the apparatus according to Fig. 1 is arranged rotatable, it is possible for the one or more colour cameras (22) arranged to the receiver module of image information (20) to shoot images from the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) from different directions. Then, it is also possible to make the laser light pattern to scan the patient's face. When using e.g. the arrangement according to Fig. 2, in which the camera (22) and the laser (24) are positioned at a distance from each other, it is possible to scan the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) with the laser line and, at the same time, to shoot images of the face at an angle (at an angle of less than 90 degrees) with respect to the direction of the laser beam. Of the image information acquired this way, it is possible to produce a three-dimensional surface model of the patient's facial shape. In one preferable embodiment of the invention, the control system of the apparatus is provided with a control function to always momentarily switch off the laser for a desired duration during a scan, during which periods it is possible to shoot colour images of the patient's face without the laser light pattern and to produce from the hence acquired image information a texture model of the patient's face. However, it is in principle possible to operate also such that the laser is not switched off at all but the laser line is removed from the texture model being formed during processing of the image information produced in the imaging programmatically.

    [0018] Fig. 4a shows a signal path from the receiver module of image information (20) to the computer (30) used in one preferable embodiment of the invention. The signal path of image information detected by the colour camera or cameras (22) and the x-ray detector (21) to the computer (30) can be arranged shared such that the image information acquired from them is directed to the computer (30) via the same one frame grabber. Preferably, a signal path is also arranged in the apparatus at least between the control means of the movements of the imaging means and/or the control means of the x-ray source and the computer via the same Ethernet cable as the signal path from the camera to the computer. This can be implemented e.g. by means of an Ethernet-HUB component or an Ethernet switch component arrangeable to the apparatus. Fig. 4b shows another preferable embodiment for arranging signal paths to the apparatus which also requires only one Ethernet cable between the imaging means and the computer.

    [0019] The means arranged to the computer (30) to process image information acquired when imaging the patient's face arranged at the imaging station (18) comprise, according to the invention, an algorithm for processing at least image information acquired from the x-ray detector (21) and for processing image information acquired from the colour camera or cameras (22) to create a virtual three-dimensional texture model of the patient's face. The texture model can be produced either solely of the photography information picturing the patient's face from more than one direction, or its production can utilise e.g. information on the shape of the surface of the soft-tissue of the patient's face acquired when x-ray imaging the patient. In a preferable embodiment of the invention, the image processing means includes a means for creating a facial surface model from the image information of the laser line directed on the patient's face, which information can be utilised in producing the three-dimensional texture model of the patient's face. Preferably, the image processing means includes a means which can produce models which simultaneously show three-dimensionally both the facial texture and at least parts of the teeth and/or skeletal structure of the patient's cranial area.

    [0020] Fig. 5a shows an example of a facial three-dimensional model implementable with the apparatus according to the invention in which to the facial texture model is integrated information on the skeletal structure and teeth of the cranial area of the patient. Fig. 5b again shows an example of a facial surface model produceable with the above-described apparatus according to the invention, and Fig. 5c a different projection of the model according to Fig. 5b, which is produced only of information acquirable from the laser line patterns on the patient's face. Comparing Figs. 5b and 5c illustrates how the facial texture model produceable with the apparatus according to the invention differs from a mere facial surface model.

    [0021] Fig. 6 shows a diagram which illustrates a principle according to which certain operations of the apparatus according to the above-described embodiment can be controlled. In the figure, the imaging of the patient's face is assumed to be implemented - simultaneously with x-ray exposure or as its own imaging - such that the arm part supporting the imaging means (14) is made to rotate such that the receiver module of image information (20) moves from one side of the patient's face to the other for at least 180 degrees, such as for at least 200 degrees, such as for about 260 degrees. During this motion, the patient's face is illuminated by regularly pulsing the light sources (23) of the receiver module of image information (20), whereas the laser light is otherwise kept continuously on but, during the scan, it is momentarily switched off in order to be able to shoot images from the face of the patient positioned at the imaging station (18) also without the laser light pattern. The operations of the apparatus are synchronised to comprise two kinds of periods, during the first of which the laser light is switched off and images are shot of the face during such sequences of the light pulses whereby the patient's face is illuminated, and during the second periods the laser light is again kept on whereby the laser line, when the arm part supporting the imaging means (14) rotates, moves along the patient's face and images are shot of the face during such periods of the light pulses whereby the patient's face is not illuminated. When the imaging employs two colour cameras (22) according to the embodiment of the invention described above, concerning the operation mode shown in Fig. 6, the control as described above is implemented such that the first and the second camera (22) shoot images always during successive light pulses. The image information integrated by the cameras (22) can be read out always during those periods of the light pulsing when image information is not being integrated.

    [0022] The diagram of Fig. 6 thus shows one principle applicable for use in the invention. However, if desiring to prevent the patient positioned at the imaging station from sensing the flickering of lights caused by the pulsing of facial illumination, the pulse frequency of the illumination must be arranged to be at least 50-60 Hz. Such pulsing would lead, when operating exactly the way shown in Fig. 6, to an unnecessarily large amount of image information for practical implementation of the invention. The above principle can indeed be applied e.g. such that, during the above-described periods, the first and the second camera do not shoot images during each light pulse but only e.g. at times of the order of every tenth pulse, whereby there also is more time for reading the image information from the camera. Thus, in one preferable embodiment of the invention, the means for illuminating the patient's face is controlled to illuminate the patient's face in short pulses, preferably at least at the frequency of 50-60 Hz, the laser or lasers are controlled to produce a laser light pattern on the patient's face otherwise continuously but such that there are periods during the rotation of the arm part, such as less than 10 periods, during which no laser light pattern is produced, and the colour camera or cameras are controlled to shoot images at the first pulse steps when the laser light pattern is directed on the face and when the means for illuminating the patient's face do not illuminate the face, and at the second pulse steps whereby no laser light pattern is directed on the face and when the means for illuminating the patient's face do illuminate the face. One practical way to implement sequencing of shooting images according to the practical mode of operation described above comprises implementing the first and the last period during movement of the imaging means as periods during which the face is imaged without a laser line and for the duration of the movement in question, this kind of periods are arranged for the total of five at even intervals. According to such an embodiment of the invention, for the total of ten colour images of the patient's face would thus be shot from different directions without the laser light pattern, and the angular velocity of the motion of the imaging means from one side of the patient's face to the other can be arranged such that during the four periods falling between these periods, images of the order of 300 are shot of the laser light line directed on the face. It is still evident to those skilled in the art that it is e.g. not necessary to shoot images of the laser light pattern at even intervals and that their number, and the positions from which images of the laser line are shot, may be varied e.g. according to the desired horizontal resolution of the surface construction. It is also not necessary to shoot photographs without the laser line at even intervals and their number and position can be varied according to any particular need as well so that suitable joining points and adequate coverage are achieved for creating a three-dimensional texture model from the partial facial images shot from different directions.

    [0023] The apparatus according to the invention and its operation mode selection switch (19) can be arranged to enable x-ray imaging and imaging of the patient's face to occur either separately or, in one preferable embodiment of the invention, to be implemented in connection with the same imaging event, even simultaneously. Photographing the face from different directions simultaneously with the x-ray imaging eliminates a need for a separate imaging whereby, among other things, there is no need to calibrate some other imaging device and to position the patient to this other device for a separate facial imaging. Thus, trouble and time are saved when the facial imaging can be performed simultaneously with the x-ray imaging. Also, if one wishes to integrate image information acquired in different ways of imaging, e.g. to be presented in the same three-dimensional model, the combining is then easier as the imaged anatomy has been in the same position and in the set of coordinates according to the same imaging device when imaged. The apparatus enables the use of the laser line to enhance bringing out the facial shapes in more detail by transferring the location of the laser line on the face, by shooting profiles produced by the laser line on the facial surface and by calculating the shape of the facial surface from these profiles.

    [0024] Above, the invention has been described predominantly with reference to the enclosed figures, but all of the above-described details of the embodiments of the invention are not necessary or the only ones possible considering implementing the invention. The number of colour cameras used in the apparatus can be some other than two and, if the apparatus enables changing the camera location with respect to the imaging station, it is possible to shoot images of the patient's face from different directions even with one camera. In a preferable embodiment of the invention, the apparatus is arranged with a lighting arrangement emitting white light to illuminate the patient's face, which is advantageous considering imaging the facial hues, but it is possible to consider the invention being also utilisable without one or several sources of white light integrated in the apparatus and also with lights of other colours. Furthermore, adequate information for producing a three-dimensional facial texture model can be acquired only from photographing the face from different directions, but the preferable embodiments of the invention also utilise e.g. information on the shapes of the facial soft-tissue surface acquired from an x-ray imaging, or information on the facial surface shapes available from a laser scan of the face.

    [0025] The receiver module of image information applicable for use in the apparatus can according to the embodiment of above comprise the receiver of x-ray image information (21) arranged substantially in the middle of the module, seen from the horizontal direction, and two lasers (24), and arranged substantially at opposite ends of the module (20) on the one hand a first and a second colour camera (22), on the other hand a first and a second lighting structure (23). When viewing the module (20) in the vertical direction, it may comprise an arrangement in which said lasers (24) are arranged substantially at the edges of the receiver module of image information (20), and said lighting structures (23) to direct light at the imaging station (18) from above and from below said colour cameras (22). The functionality according to the invention for modelling at least part of the face can nevertheless be considered to be achieved with other kinds of arrangements as well, such as with an arrangement which uses two light lines and only one camera.

    [0026] The colour camera pertaining to the apparatus according to the invention can also be used for other purposes than those described above. The camera or cameras can be arranged to operate as a video camera, whereby it is possible to e.g. monitor and/or save the patient's expressions and possible movements before the x-ray imaging and/or during exposure, with suitable arrangements also in 3D. In the above embodiments, the colour camera or cameras are located to the arm part supporting the imaging means to the substantial proximity of the x-ray detector, but the colour camera or cameras can also be arranged e.g. to the substantial proximity of the x-ray source. Generally, it is advantageous to position the colour camera or cameras, as well as the laser or lasers possibly pertaining to the apparatus, to such structure of the apparatus which is already arranged movable with respect to the imaging station for the purposes of x-ray imaging by the apparatus.

    [0027] The computer pertaining to the apparatus does not have to be a physically separate device from the imaging means but it can also be integrated as part of the actual imaging device.

    [0028] The x-ray imaging means of the apparatus preferably enable computed tomography imaging, especially cone-beam computed tomography imaging known to be used in the dental field, the paths of the arm part supporting the x-ray imaging means used in which apparatus are typically arranged to enable rotation of the arm part with respect to a stationary, virtual vertical axis going through the imaging station, which motion is also directly utilisable for producing image information for creating a three-dimensional facial texture model. This property of the imaging apparatus makes implementation of especially the facial laser scanning quite simple, as the x-ray imaging apparatus already includes means to implement movements applicable for use in laser scanning. The laser scanning can in many cases significantly facilitate detection of three-dimensional surface shapes of the patient's face as compared to using information acquired solely from colour photography of the face. In a preferable embodiment of the invention, there is then e.g. an arrangement in which said receiver means of x-ray image information (21) comprise a detector, the dimensions of the area receiving image information of which are at least of the order of centimetres, said structure supporting the imaging means (14) being arranged to be rotatable with respect to a vertical, virtual rotation axis going through a stationary imaging station (18) such that the x-ray source (15) and the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) move on opposite sides of the imaging station (18), in which the control system of the apparatus comprises a control routine, which on the one hand controls the rotating motion of the structure supporting said imaging means (14), the x-ray source (15) and the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) to produce image information, of which with said means for processing information (30) detected by the receiver of x-ray image information (21) can be reconstructed a three-dimensional x-ray image, and on the other hand, controls at least said colour camera (22) to shoot colour images of the face of a patient positioned at the imaging station (18) during said rotating motion, and in which the image information processing means (30) functionally pertaining to the apparatus are arranged to create a three-dimensional model presentable on the display (31) of the patient positioned at the imaging station (18), which model shows at least a portion of the skeletal construction and/or teeth of the patient's cranial area and at least a portion of the texture of the patient' s facial area.

    [0029] According to one preferable embodiment of the invention, the apparatus includes a means for realizing the imaging such that the computed tomography imaging is implemented with a rotation angle of about 200 degrees and the photography with a rotation angle of about 260 degrees. In practice, this can be then implemented such that one manoeuvre of 260 degrees is made, during which the x-ray imaging is started after a movement of 30 degrees and correspondingly stopped earlier than the photography, or by first picking up x-ray image information during a manoeuvre of about 200 degrees in a first direction, continuing the movement in this first direction to the starting position of photography, and implementing photography during a manoeuvre of 260 degrees occurring in the opposite direction. An advantage of the latter alternative is that the motion during mere photography can be implemented as fast (i.e. with higher angular velocity than the x-ray imaging) without the velocity needed in computed tomography imaging limiting the angular velocity, which decreases the risk of the patient's expression changing or of other motions during exposure.


    Claims

    1. A dental imaging apparatus, which apparatus includes
    a support construction (11, 13) which supports a structure supporting imaging means (14),
    at least one imaging station (18) for placing a patient to the apparatus for imaging,
    in which apparatus the imaging means includes at least an x-ray source (15) and a receiver means of x-ray image information (21), which are arranged in the apparatus in such a way with respect to said imaging station (18) that the x-ray source (15) and the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) are positioned at opposite sides of the imaging station (18) such that a beam generated by the x-ray source (15) can be aligned to go through said imaging station (18) and towards said receiver means of x-ray image information (21),
    a control system for controlling operations of the imaging apparatus and
    a means integrated with the imaging apparatus or arranged into functional connection with it for processing information detected at the receiver means of x-ray image information (21),
    and wherein structures, components and control means of the apparatus related to x-ray imaging are arranged to enable dental panoramic imaging, dental computed tomography imaging and/or dental cone-beam computed tomography imaging,
    wherein the apparatus further includes, as a combination,
    a means for photographing (22) a patient's face and/or for producing a moving picture of the patient's face from at least two directions while the patient is positioned at said imaging station (18), which means comprises at least one colour camera (22) the location of which with respect to said imaging station is arranged changeable and/or at least two colour cameras being arranged to image the patient's face positioned at the patient support station (18) from different directions,
    a means integrated in the apparatus or brought to functional connection with it for creating a three-dimensional surface model of the patient's face,
    a means arranged into functional connection with said at least one colour camera (22) for combining the image information detected by said at least one colour camera (22), or a three-dimensional texture model created from the image information detected by said at least one colour camera (22), to the three-dimensional surface model of the patient's face to create a virtual three-dimensional texture model of the patient's face,
    a means for creating a virtual model which comprises x-ray image information at least from a portion of the bones and/or teeth of the patient's cranial area integrated with said virtual three-dimensional texture model produced of the patient's face,
    characterized in that
    to said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged a receiver module of image information (20) to which is placed: the receiver means of x-ray image information (21), the at least one colour camera (22) and at least one lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) while the patient is positioned at said imaging station (18).
     
    2. The imaging apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the control system of the apparatus comprises a means for implementing the x-ray imaging and the imaging of the patient's face at the same time and/or as a combined imaging taking place during one imaging event, and/or the control system of the apparatus comprises a selection means for implementing the x-ray imaging and the imaging of the patient's face either with at least one of the above ways or for implementing at least one of said imagings as a separate imaging.
     
    3. The imaging apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that said at least one lighting structure (23) and/or at least one colour camera (22) is arranged to the apparatus such that the patient's face can be illuminated and/or imaged from different directions when the patient is positioned at said imaging station (18) arranged for x-ray imaging, and/or that said at least one lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) comprises a structure which directs light towards the face of the patient arranged at the imaging station (18) substantially from above or from below said at least one colour camera (22), and/or that said at least one lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) and at least one colour camera (22) are arranged into connection with said structure supporting the imaging means (14), and/or that said at least one lighting structure (23) and at least one colour camera (22) are arranged to the substantial proximity of said receiver means of x-ray image information (21) .
     
    4. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - Z 3,
    characterized in that the apparatus includes at least two colour cameras (22) located horizontally at a distance from each other.
     
    5. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1 -4,
    characterized in that the control system of the apparatus includes a means for controlling said at least one lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) to produce white light, to produce pulsed white light and/or to produce lights of different colours.
     
    6. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - Z 5,
    characterized in that the apparatus includes at least two colour cameras (22) into connection with which is arranged said lighting structure (23) which directs light towards the face of the patient positioned at the imaging station (18) substantially from above and from below of at least two colour cameras (22), which at least two colour cameras (22) and the lighting structure (23) arranged into connection with them are arranged horizontally at a distance from each other on the opposite sides of said receiver means of x-ray image information (21).
     
    7. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - Z 6,
    characterized in that said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged rotatable with respect to a vertical virtual axis going through the patient support station or some other virtual vertical axis.
     
    8. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1-7,
    characterized in that said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged rotatable with respect to the imaging station (18) for at least 180 degrees and the control system of the apparatus to control said at least one colour camera (22) to shoot at least two colour images of the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) within the angle range in question.
     
    9. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1-8,
    characterized in that information detected by said receiver means of x-ray image information (21) and at least one colour camera (22) is arranged to be directed to the same one frame grabber, and/or via the same one Ethernet cable from the imaging device to physically separate means for processing image information (30).
     
    10. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1-9,
    characterized in that said means for creating the three-dimensional surface model of the patient's face includes at least one laser or other lighting arrangement (24) which is arranged to direct a light pattern on the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18).
     
    11. The imaging apparatus according to claim 10, characterized in
    that said means for creating the three-dimensional surface model of the patient's face includes the at least one laser or other lighting arrangement (24) casting a narrow vertical light pattern on the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18), which at least one laser or other lighting arrangement (24) is placed to said structure supporting the imaging means (14), and that the structure supporting the imaging means (14) in question and said imaging station (18) are arranged movable with respect to each other such that said light pattern can be directed substantially extensively at different locations within the patient's facial area, and/or said means for creating the three-dimensional surface model of the patient's face includes two lasers or other lighting arrangements (24) producing a light pattern arranged substantially on the same vertical virtual axis, which are arranged to the apparatus with respect to the imaging station (18) such that the upper of them illuminates the patient's face at least slightly obliquely from above and the lower at least slightly obliquely from below.
     
    12. The imaging apparatus according to claim 10 or 11, characterized in that to said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged the at least one laser or other lighting arrangement (24) for producing a laser or some other light pattern, and/or that said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged rotatable with respect to the imaging station (18), said light pattern to move according to the motion of said structure supporting the imaging means (14) and the control system of the apparatus to shoot tens or hundreds of images of the light pattern with said at least one colour camera (22) from different directions within the area of motion of the structure supporting the imaging means (14).
     
    13. The imaging apparatus according to claim 12, characterized in that
    seen in the horizontal direction, to the receiver module of image information (20), substantially in the middle of it, is arranged the receiver of x-ray image information (21) and two lasers or other lighting arrangements (24), and substantially at opposite ends of the receiver module (20) are arranged on the one hand the first and the second colour camera (22), on the other hand the first and the second lighting structure for illuminating the patient'face (23), and that
    seen in the vertical direction, said lasers or other lighting arrangements (24) are arranged to the receiver module of image information (20) in question substantially at its edges, and said lighting structures (23) to direct light at the imaging station (18) from above and from below said colour cameras (22).
     
    14. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 10-13, characterized in that the control system of the apparatus is configured to implement a control routine
    the structure supporting the imaging means (14) rotates with respect to the imaging station (18), during which rotation,
    the lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) is controlled to illuminate the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) in short pulses, preferably at least at the frequency of 50 Hz,
    the at least one laser or other lighting arrangement (24) is controlled to produce a light pattern on the patient's face otherwise continuously but such that during the rotation of the structure supporting the imaging means (14), there are moments when the light pattern is not produced, and
    the colour camera or cameras (22) are controlled to shoot images during first steps when the light pattern is directed on the face and when the lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) does not illuminate the face of the patient, and on the other hand during second steps when no light pattern is directed on the face of the patient and when the lighting structure for illuminating the patient's face (23) illuminates the face of the patient.
     
    15. The imaging apparatus according to claim 14, characterized in that said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged to rotate with respect to the imaging station (18) for at least 180 degrees and that according to said control routine, there are short periods during the rotation, such as less than 10 periods, during which no light pattern is directed on the patient's face and during which the colour camera or cameras (22) are controlled to shoot images at phases when the means for illuminating the patient's face do produce a light pulse.
     
    16. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1-15, characterized in that said receiver means of x-ray image information (21) comprise a detector, the dimensions of the area receiving image information of which are at least of the order of centimetres, said structure supporting the imaging means (14) is arranged to be rotatable with respect to a vertical, virtual rotation axis going through the stationary imaging station (18) such that the x-ray source (15) and the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) move on opposite sides of the imaging station (18), in which the control system is configured to implement a control routine, which on the one hand controls the rotating motion of the structure supporting said imaging means (14), the x-ray source (15) and the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) to produce image information, of which with said means for processing information (30) detected by the receiver means of x-ray image information (21) can reconstruct a three-dimensional x-ray image, and on the other hand, controls at least said colour camera (22) to shoot colour images of the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) during said rotating motion, and that the image information processing means (30) functionally pertaining to the apparatus are arranged to create a three-dimensional model of the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) which is presentable on a display (31), which model shows at least a portion of the bones and/or teeth of the patient's cranial area and at least a portion of the texture of the patient's facial area.
     
    17. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1-16, characterized in that said at least one laser or other lighting arrangement (24) includes a means for producing a green laser or other light fan and directing it towards the patient's face positioned at the imaging station (18) to create a substantially vertical narrow line of light on the face of the patient and/or two lasers (24), the first of which is arranged to produce laser light of a first colour and the second of a second colour.
     
    18. The imaging apparatus according to any one of claims 1-17,
    characterized in that the apparatus includes at least two lighting structures for illuminating the patient's face (23) in front of which is arranged a diffusing foil and/or a polarizer.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Dental-Bildgebungsvorrichtung, wobei die Bildgebungsvorrichtung
    eine Stützkonstruktion (11, 13), welche eine Struktur zum Stützen eines Bildgebungsmittels (14) stützt,
    zumindest eine Bildgebungsstation (18) zum Anordnen eines Patienten zur Bildgebung an der Bildgebungsvorrichtung,
    wobei das Bildgebungsmittel in der Bildgebungsvorrichtung zumindest eine Röntgenstrahlenquelle (15) und eine Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) aufweist, welche in der Bildgebungsvorrichtung so angeordnet sind, dass die Röntgenstrahlenquelle (15) und die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation (18) an gegenüberliegenden Seiten der Bildgebungsstation (18) angeordnet sind, sodass ein Strahl, der von der Röntgenstrahlenquelle (15) erzeugt wird, so ausgerichtet werden kann, dass er durch die Bildgebungsstation (18) und zu der Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) dringt,
    ein Steuerungssystem zur Steuerung von Betätigungen der Bildgebungsvorrichtung, und
    eine Vorrichtung, die in die Bildgebungsvorrichtung integriert ist oder in einer funktionellen Verbindung mit dieser angeordnet ist, um Information, die durch die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) detektiert wird, zu verarbeiten, aufweist
    und wobei Strukturen, Komponenten und Steuermittel der Bildgebungsvorrichtung in Bezug auf die Röntgenstrahlen-Bildgebung so angeordnet sind, dass eine Dental-Panorama-Bildgebung, eine Dental-Computertomographie-Bildgebung und/oder eine Dental-Kegelstrahl- Computertomographie-Bildgebung ermöglicht wird,
    wobei die Bildgebungsvorrichtung weiterhin in Kombination
    eine Vorrichtung (22) zum Fotografieren eines Gesichts eines Patienten und/oder zum Erzeugen eines bewegten Bilds vom Gesicht des Patienten aus zumindest zwei Richtungen, während der Patient an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, wobei diese Vorrichtung zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) aufweist, die in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation so positioniert ist, dass sie veränderbar angeordnet ist, und/oder zwei Farbkameras aufweist, die so angeordnet sind, dass sie das Gesicht des Patienten, der an der Patienten-Stütztstation (18) positioniert ist, aus verschiedenen Richtungen abbilden können,
    eine Vorrichtung, die in die Bildgebungsvorrichtung integriert ist oder in eine funktionelle Verbindung damit gebracht ist, um ein dreidimensionales Oberflächenmodell des Gesichtes des Patienten zu erzeugen,
    eine Vorrichtung, die in einer funktionellen Verbindung mit der zumindest einen Farbkamera (22) angeordnet ist, um die Bildinformation, die durch die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) detektiert wird, oder ein dreidimensionales Texturmodell, das aus der Bildinformation erstellt wird, die durch die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) detektiert wurde, mit dem dreidimensionalen Oberflächenmodell des Gesichts des Patienten zu kombinieren, um ein virtuelles dreidimensionales Texturmodell des Gesichts des Patienten zu erstellen, und
    eine Vorrichtung zum Erstellen eines virtuellen Modells, welches eine Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation von zumindest einem Abschnitt der Knochen und/oder Zähne des Kranialbereichs des Patienten aufweist und das in das virtuelle dreidimensionale Texturmodell, das von dem Gesicht des Patienten erzeugt wurde, integriert wird, aufweist
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    an der Stützstruktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) ein Empfängermodul für Bildinformation (20) angeordnet ist, an welchem angeordnet ist: die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21), die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) und zumindest eine Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23), während der Patient an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist.
     
    2. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem der Bildgebungsvorrichtung eine Vorrichtung zur Implementierung der Röntgenstrahlen-Bildgebung und der Bildgebung des Gesichts des Patienten zum selben Zeitpunkt und/oder als eine kombinierte Bildgebung, die während eines Bildgebungsvorgangs stattfindet, aufweist, und/oder das Steuersystem der Bildgebungsvorrichtung eine Auswahlvorrichtung zur Implementierung der Röntgenstrahlen-Bildgebung und der Bildgebung des Gesichts des Patienten, entweder nach zumindest einem der oben aufgezeigten Wege oder zur Implementierung von zumindest einer der Bildgebungen als einer separaten Bildgebung, aufweist.
     
    3. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die zumindest eine Beleuchtungsstruktur (23) und/oder die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) so an der Bildgebungsvorrichtung angeordnet ist/sind, dass das Gesicht des Patienten beleuchtet werden kann und/oder aus verschiedenen Richtungen abgebildet werden kann, wenn der Patient an der Bildgebungsstation (18), die zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildgebung angeordnet ist, positioniert ist, und/oder dass die zumindest eine Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten eine Struktur aufweist, welche das Licht zum Gesicht des Patienten hin, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) angeordnet ist, im Wesentlichen von oberhalb oder von unterhalb der zumindest einen Farbkamera (22) richtet, und/oder dass die zumindest eine Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23) und die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) in Verbindung mit der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) angeordnet sind, und/oder dass die zumindest eine Beleuchtungsstruktur (23) und die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) im Wesentlichen in der Nähe der Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) angeordnet sind.
     
    4. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Bildgebungsvorrichtung zumindest zwei Farbkameras (22) aufweist, die horizontal mit einem Abstand voneinander positioniert sind.
     
    5. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem der Bildgebungsvorrichtung eine Vorrichtung zur Steuerung der zumindest einen Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23) aufweist, um weißes Licht zu erzeugen, um gepulstes weißes Licht zu erzeugen und/oder um Lichter in verschiedenen Farben zu erzeugen.
     
    6. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Bildgebungsvorrichtung zumindest zwei Farbkameras (22) aufweist, mit denen die Beleuchtungsstruktur in Verbindung angeordnet ist, die Licht zum Gesicht des Patienten, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, im Wesentlichen von oberhalb und von unterhalb der zumindest zwei Farbkameras (22) ausrichtet, wobei die zumindest zwei Farbkameras (22) und die Beleuchtungsstruktur (23), die in Verbindung mit diesen angeordnet ist, horizontal mit einem Abstand zueinander an gegenüberliegenden Seiten der Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) angeordnet sind.
     
    7. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) in Bezug auf eine vertikale, virtuelle Achse, die sich durch die Patienten-Stützstation erstreckt, oder eine andere virtuelle, vertikale Achse drehbar angeordnet ist.
     
    8. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation (18) um zumindest 180 Grand drehbar ist, und dass das Steuersystem der Bildgebungsvorrichtung die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) steuert, um zumindest zwei Farbbilder des Gesichts des Patienten, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, innerhalb des in Frage kommenden Winkelbereichs zu schießen.
     
    9. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass Information durch die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) detektiert wird, und dass die zumindest eine Farbkamera (22) so angeordnet ist, dass sie auf ein-und dieselbe Bildfangschaltung und/oder über ein- und dasselbe Ethernet-Kabel gerichtet ist, um die Vorrichtung zur Verarbeitung der Bildinformation (30) von der Bildgebungsvorrichtung physisch abzutrennen.
     
    10. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass Vorrichtung zur Erstellung des dreidimensionalen Oberflächenmodells vom Gesicht des Patienten zumindest einen Laser oder zumindest eine andere Beleuchtungsanordnung (24) aufweist, der/die so angeordnet ist, dass ein Lichtstrahl auf das Gesicht des Patienten, der an der Bildgebungsstation positioniert ist, gerichtet wird.
     
    11. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 10, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Vorrichtung zur Erstellung des dreidimensionalen Oberflächenmodells vom Gesicht des Patienten den zumindest eine Laser oder die zumindest eine andere Beleuchtungsanordnung (24) aufweist, die ein enges vertikales Lichtmuster auf das Gesicht des Patienten wirft, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, wobei der zumindest eine Laser oder die zumindest eine andere Beleuchtungsvorrichtung an der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) angeordnet ist, und dass die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) und die Bildgebungsstation (18) in Bezug aufeinander beweglich angeordnet sind, sodass das Lichtmuster im Wesentlichen ausführlich auf verschiedene Stellen innerhalb des Gesichtsbereiches des Patienten ausgerichtet werden kann, und/oder
    dass die Vorrichtung zum Erstellen des dreidimensionalen Oberflächenmodells vom Gesicht des Patienten zwei Laser oder andere Beleuchtungsanordnungen (24) aufweist, die ein Lichtmuster erzeugen, das im Wesentlichen an derselben vertikalen virtuellen Achse angeordnet ist, und die an der Bildgebungsvorrichtung in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation (18) so angeordnet sind, dass die obere von ihnen das Gesicht des Patienten zumindest geringfügig schräg von oben und die untere das Gesicht des Patienten zumindest geringfügig schräg von unten beleuchtet.
     
    12. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 10 oder 11, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass an der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) der zumindest eine Laser oder die zumindest eine andere Beleuchtungsanordnung (24) zum Erzeugen eines Laser- oder eines anderen Lichtmusters angeordnet ist, und/oder dass die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation drehbar angeordnet ist, wobei sich das Lichtmuster gemäß der Bewegung der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) bewegt, und dass das Steuersystem der Bildgebungsvorrichtung veranlasst, dass mit der zumindest einen Farbkamera (22) Dutzende oder Hunderte Bilder vom Lichtmuster aus verschiedenen Richtungen innerhalb des Bewegungsbereichs der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) geschossen werden.
     
    13. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 12, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass bei Betrachtung in die horizontale Richtung am Empfängermodul zur Bildinformation (20), im Wesentlichen in dessen Mitte, die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) und zwei Laser oder andere Beleuchtungsanordnungen (24) angeordnet und im Wesentlichen sind an zwei gegenüberliegenden Ende des Empfängermoduls (20) einerseits die erste und die zweite Farbkamera (22) und andererseits die erste und die zweite Beleuchtungsstruktur zum Beleuchten des Gesichts des Patienten (23) angeordnet, und dass
    bei Betrachtung in die vertikale Richtung die Laser oder anderen Beleuchtungsanordnungen (24) am Empfängermodul zur Bildinformation (20), im Wesentlichen an dessen Kanten, angeordnet sind und die Beleuchtungsstrukturen (23) Licht auf die Bildgebungsstation (18) von oberhalb und von unterhalb der beiden Farbkameras (22) richten.
     
    14. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 13, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem der Bildgebungsvorrichtung konfiguriert ist, einen Steuerablauf zu implementieren,
    Die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) sich in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation (18) während deren Rotation dreht,
    die Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23) gesteuert wird, um das Gesicht des Patienten, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, in kurzen Pulsen, vorzugsweise mit einer Frequenz von zumindest 50 Hz, zu beleuchten,
    der zumindest eine Laser oder die zumindest eine andere Beleuchtungsvorrichtung (24) gesteuert wird, um ein Lichtmuster auf dem Gesicht des Patienten grundsätzlich durchgängig zu erzeugen, aber so, dass während der Rotation der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) Momente existieren, in denen das Lichtmuster nicht erzeugt wird, und
    die Farbkamera (22) oder -kameras (22) gesteuert wird/werden, um während erster Schritte Bilder zu schießen, wenn das Lichtmuster auf das Gesicht gerichtet ist und wenn die Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23) das Gesicht des Patienten nicht beleuchtet, und um andererseits während zweiter Schritte Bilder zu schießen, wenn kein Lichtmuster auf das Gesicht des Patienten gerichtet ist und wenn die Beleuchtungsstruktur zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23) das Gesicht des Patienten beleuchtet.
     
    15. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) so angeordnet ist, dass sie sich in Bezug auf die Bildgebungsstation (18) um zumindest 180 Grad dreht und dass gemäß dem Steuerablauf kurze Zeitspannen während der Rotation vorliegen, wie beispielsweise weniger als 10 Zeitspanne, während denen kein Lichtmuster auf das Gesicht des Patienten gerichtet ist und während denen die Farbkamera (22) oder -kameras (22) so gesteuert wird/werden, dass sie in den Phasen Bilder schießen, in denen die Vorrichtung zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten einen Lichtpuls erzeugt.
     
    16. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 15, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) einen Detektor aufweist, wobei die Dimensionen des Bereichs desselben, der Bildinformation erhält, zumindest in der Größenordnung von Zentimetern ist, die Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14) so angeordnet ist, dass sie in Bezug auf eine vertikale, virtuelle Rotationsachse, die sich durch die stationäre Bildgebungsstation (18) erstreckt, drehbar ist, sodass sich die Röntgenstrahlenquelle (15) und die Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) auf gegenüberliegenden Seiten der Bildgebungsstation (18) bewegen, wobei das Steuersystem konfiguriert ist, einen Steuerablauf zu implementieren, der einerseits die Drehbewegung der Struktur zum Stützen des Bildgebungsmittels (14), der Röntgenstrahlenquelle (15) und der Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) steuert, um Bildinformation zu erzeugen, mit der die Vorrichtung zur Erzeugung von Information (30), die von der Empfängervorrichtung zur Röntgenstrahlen-Bildinformation (21) detektiert wird, ein dreidimensionales Röntgenbild rekonstruieren kann, und der andererseits zumindest die Farbkamera (22) so steuert, dass sie Farbbilder vom Gesicht des Patienten schießt, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, und zwar während der Drehbewegung, und dass die Bildinformation-Verarbeitungsvorrichtung (30), die funktional zur Bildgebungsvorrichtung gehört, so angeordnet ist, dass sie ein dreidimensionales Modell des Gesichts des Patienten, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, erzeugt, welches auf einem Display (31) darstellbar ist, wobei das Modell zumindest einen Abschnitt der Knochen und/oder Zähne des Kranialbereichs des Patienten und zumindest einen Abschnitt der Textur des Gesichtsbereichs des Patienten zeigt.
     
    17. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 16, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der zumindest eine Laser oder die zumindest eine andere Beleuchtungsanordnung (24) eine Vorrichtung zur Erzeugung eines grünen Lasers oder eines anderen Lichtfächers aufweist, und dass dieses zum Gesicht des Patienten, der an der Bildgebungsstation (18) positioniert ist, hin gerichtet wird, um eine im Wesentlichen vertikale, enge Lichtlinie auf dem Gesicht des Patienten zu erzeugen, und/oder dass zwei Laser (24) vorliegen, von denen der erste angeordnet ist, um Laserlicht mit einer ersten Farbe zu erzeugen, und der zweite angeordnet ist, um es in einer zweiten Farbe zu erzeugen.
     
    18. Bildgebungsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 17, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Bildgebungsvorrichtung zumindest zwei Beleuchtungsstrukturen zur Beleuchtung des Gesichts des Patienten (23) aufweist, an deren Vorderseite eine Streuungsfolie und/oder ein Polarisator angeordnet ist/sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil d'imagerie dentaire, lequel appareil inclut
    une structure de support (11, 13) qui supporte une structure supportant un moyen d'imagerie (14),
    au moins un poste d'imagerie (18) pour mettre en place un patient dans l'appareil pour effectuer une imagerie,
    dans lequel appareil le moyen d'imagerie inclut au moins une source de rayons X (15) et un moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21), qui sont agencés dans l'appareil par rapport audit poste d'imagerie (18) en sorte que la source de rayons X (15) et le moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) soient positionnés sur les côtés opposés du poste d'imagerie (18) afin qu'un faisceau généré par la source de rayons X (15) puisse être aligné pour passer à travers ledit poste d'imagerie (18) et vers ledit moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21),
    un système de commande pour commander des opérations de l'appareil d'imagerie et
    un moyen intégré avec l'appareil d'imagerie ou agencé en liaison fonctionnelle avec celui-ci pour traiter des informations détectées dans le moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21),
    et dans lequel des structures, des composants et des moyens de commande de l'appareil en rapport avec l'imagerie radiographique sont agencés pour permettre une imagerie dentaire panoramique, une imagerie dentaire par tomographie informatisée et/ou une imagerie dentaire par tomographie informatisée à faisceau conique,
    dans lequel l'appareil inclut en outre, sous forme combinée,
    un moyen pour photographier (22) un visage de patient et/ou pour produire une image mobile du visage du patient à partir d'au moins deux directions tandis que le patient est positionné dans ledit poste d'imagerie (18), lequel moyen comprennent au moins une caméra couleur (22) dont l'emplacement, par rapport audit poste d'imagerie, est agencé de manière à pouvoir être modifié et/ou au moins deux caméras couleur qui sont agencées pour imager le visage du patient positionné dans le poste de support de patient (18) à partir de différentes positions,
    un moyen intégré à l'appareil ou amené en liaison fonctionnelle avec celui-ci pour créer un modèle de surface tridimensionnel du visage du patient,
    un moyen agencé en liaison fonctionnelle avec ladite au moins une caméra couleur (22) afin de combiner les informations d'images détectées par ladite au moins une caméra couleur (22) ou un modèle de texture tridimensionnel créé à partir des informations d'images détectées par ladite au moins une caméra couleur (22), au modèle de surface tridimensionnel du visage du patient afin de créer un modèle de texture tridimensionnelle virtuel du visage du patient,
    un moyen pour créer un modèle virtuel qui comprend des informations radiographiques au moins à partir d'une portion des os et/ou des dents de la zone crânienne du patient intégrée audit modèle de texture tridimensionnel virtuel produit du visage du patient,
    caractérisé en ce que
    l'on agence sur ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) un module récepteur d'informations d'images (20) dans lequel sont placés le moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21), la au moins une caméra couleur (22) et au moins une structure d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient tandis que le patient est positionné dans ledit poste d'imagerie (18).
     
    2. Appareil d'imagerie selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que le système de commande de l'appareil comprend un moyen pour mettre en œuvre l'imagerie radiographique et l'imagerie du visage du patient en même temps et/ou sous la forme d'une imagerie combinée ayant lieu au cours d'un seul événement d'imagerie, et/ou le système de commande de l'appareil comprend un moyen de sélection pour mettre en œuvre l'imagerie radiographique et l'imagerie du visage du patient avec au moins l'un des modes précités ou pour mettre en œuvre au moins l'une desdites imageries sous la forme d'une imagerie séparée.
     
    3. Appareil d'imagerie selon la revendication 1 ou 2, caractérisé en ce que ladite au moins une structure d'éclairage (23) et/ou au moins une caméra couleur (22) est ou sont agencées dans l'appareil en sorte que le visage du patient puisse être éclairé et/ou imagé à partir de directions différentes lorsque le patient est positionné dans ledit poste d'imagerie (18) agencé pour une imagerie radiographique et/ou en ce que ladite au moins une structure d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient comprend une structure qui dirige de la lumière vers le visage du patient agencé dans le poste d'imagerie (18) sensiblement par le dessus ou par le dessous de ladite au moins une caméra couleur (22) et/ou en ce que ladite au moins une structure d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient et au moins une caméra couleur (22) sont agencées en liaison avec ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) et/ou en ce que ladite au moins une structure d'éclairage (23) et au moins une caméra couleur (22) sont agencées à proximité sensible dudit moyen récepteurs d'informations radiographiques (21).
     
    4. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-3, caractérisé en ce que l'appareil inclut au moins deux caméras couleur (22) situées horizontalement à distance l'une de l'autre.
     
    5. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-4, caractérisé en ce que le système de commande de l'appareil inclut un moyen pour commander ladite au moins une structure d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient afin de produire de la lumière blanche, de produire de la lumière blanche pulsée et/ou produire des lumières de différentes couleurs.
     
    6. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-5, caractérisé en ce que l'appareil inclut au moins deux caméras couleur (22) en liaison avec laquelle est agencée ladite structure d'éclairage (23) qui dirige de la lumière vers le visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18) sensiblement par le dessus et par le dessous d'au moins deux caméras couleur (22), lesquelles au moins deux caméras couleur (22) et la structure d'éclairage (23) agencée en liaison avec celles-ci sont agencées horizontalement à distance l'une de l'autre sur les côtés opposés dudit moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21).
     
    7. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-6, caractérisé en ce que ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) est agencée de manière à pouvoir tourner par rapport à un axe vertical virtuel passant à travers le poste de support de patient ou un autre axe vertical virtuel quelconque.
     
    8. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-7, caractérisé en ce que ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) est agencée de manière à pouvoir tourner par rapport au poste d'imagerie (18) sur au moins 180 degrés et le système de commande de l'appareil est agencé pour commander ladite au moins une caméra couleur (22) afin de créer au moins deux images de couleur du visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18) dans la plage d'angles en question.
     
    9. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-8, caractérisé en ce que les informations détectées par ledit moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) et au moins une caméra couleur (22) sont agencées pour être dirigées vers un seul et même capteur d'image et/ou via le même câble Ethernet depuis le dispositif d'imagerie pour séparer physiquement le moyen de traitement d'informations d'images (30).
     
    10. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-9, caractérisé en ce que ledit moyen pour créer le modèle de surface tridimensionnel du visage du patient inclut au moins un laser ou un autre agencement d'éclairage (24) qui est agencé pour diriger un motif lumineux sur le visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18).
     
    11. Appareil d'imagerie selon la revendication 10, caractérisé en ce que ledit moyen pour créer le modèle de surface tridimensionnel du visage du patient inclut le au moins un laser ou un autre agencement d'éclairage (24) projetant un motif lumineux vertical étroit sur le visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18), lequel au moins un laser ou un autre agencement d'éclairage (24) est placé dans ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14), et en ce que la structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) en question et ledit poste d'imagerie (18) sont agencés de manière à pouvoir se déplacer l'un par rapport à l'autre en sorte que ledit motif lumineux puisse être dirigé de manière sensiblement extensive dans différents emplacements dans la zone faciale du patient et/ou ledit moyen pour créer le modèle de surface tridimensionnel du visage du patient inclut deux lasers ou d'autres agencements d'éclairage (24) produisant un motif lumineux agencés sensiblement sur le même axe vertical virtuel, qui sont agencés dans l'appareil par rapport au poste d'imagerie (18) de sorte que le plus élevé d'entre eux éclaire le visage du patient au moins légèrement en oblique par le dessus et le moins élevé au moins légèrement en oblique par le dessous.
     
    12. Appareil d'imagerie selon la revendication 10 ou 11, caractérisé en ce qu'il est agencé sur ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) le au moins un laser ou un autre agencement d'éclairage (24) pour produire un laser ou un autre motif lumineux quelconque et/ou en ce que ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) est agencée de manière à pouvoir tourner par rapport au poste d'imagerie (18), ledit motif lumineux étant déplacé conformément au mouvement de ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) et le système de commande de l'appareil pour créer des dizaines ou des centaines d'images du motif lumineux avec ladite au moins une caméra couleur (22) à partir de différentes directions dans la zone de déplacement de la structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14).
     
    13. Appareil d'imagerie selon la revendication 12, caractérisé en ce que,
    en observant dans la direction horizontale, l'on agence sur le module récepteur d'informations d'images (20), sensiblement au centre de celui-ci, le récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) et deux lasers ou d'autre agencements d'éclairage (24) et, sensiblement aux extrémités opposées du module récepteur (20), d'une part, la première et la seconde caméra couleur (22), d'autre part, la première et la seconde structure d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient, et en ce que,
    en observant dans la direction verticale, l'on agence lesdits lasers ou d'autres agencements d'éclairage (24) dans le module récepteur d'informations d'images (20) en question sensiblement sur ses bords, et lesdites structures d'éclairage (23) pour diriger de la lumière dans le poste d'imagerie (18) par le dessus et par le dessous desdites caméras couleur (22).
     
    14. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 10-13, caractérisé en ce que le système de commande de l'appareil est configuré pour mettre en œuvre un programme de commande dans lequel :

    la structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) tourne par rapport au poste d'imagerie (18) et, au cours de cette rotation,

    la structure d'éclairage permettant d'éclairer le visage (23) du patient est commandée pour éclairer le visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18) en impulsions courtes, de préférence au moins à la fréquence de 50 Hz,

    le au moins un laser ou un autre agencement d'éclairage (24) est commandé pour produire un motif lumineux sur le visage du patient autrement continu mais en sorte que, au cours de la rotation de la structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14), il y ait des moments où le motif lumineux n'est pas produit et

    la ou les caméras couleur (22) est ou sont commandées pour créer des images au cours de premières étapes lorsque le motif lumineux est dirigé sur le visage et que la structure d'éclairage permettant d'éclairer le visage (23) du patient n'éclaire pas le visage du patient et, d'autre part, au cours de secondes étapes où aucun motif lumineux n'est dirigé sur le visage du patient et où la structure d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient éclaire le visage du patient.


     
    15. Appareil d'imagerie selon la revendication 14, caractérisé en ce que ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) est agencée pour tourner par rapport au poste d'imagerie (18) sur au moins 180 degrés et en ce que, conformément audit programme de commande, il y a de courtes périodes au cours de la rotation, notamment moins de 10 périodes, au cours desquelles aucun motif lumineux n'est dirigé sur le visage du patient et au cours desquelles la ou les caméras couleur (22) est ou sont commandées pour créer des images dans des phases où le moyen d'éclairage du visage du patient produit une impulsion lumineuse.
     
    16. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-15, caractérisé en ce que ledit moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) comprend un détecteur, dont les dimensions de la zone réceptrice d'informations d'images sont au moins de l'ordre de centimètres, ladite structure supportant le moyen d'imagerie (14) est agencée pour pouvoir tourner par rapport à un axe de rotation vertical virtuel passant à travers le poste d'imagerie fixe (18) en sorte que la source de rayons X (15) et le moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) se déplacent sur les côtés opposés du poste d'imagerie (18), dans lequel le système de commande est configuré pour mettre en œuvre un programme de commande qui, d'une part, commande le mouvement de rotation de la structure supportant ledit moyen d'imagerie (14), la source de rayons X (15) et le moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) pour produire des informations d'images qui permettent de reconstruire une radiographie tridimensionnelle avec ledit moyen de traitement d'informations (30) détectées par le moyen récepteur d'informations radiographiques (21) et, d'autre part, commande au moins ladite caméra couleur (22) pour créer des images de couleur du visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18) au cours dudit mouvement de rotation, et en ce que le moyen de traitement d'informations d'images (30) appartenant fonctionnellement à l'appareil est agencé pour créer un modèle tridimensionnel du visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18) qui peut être présenté sur un dispositif d'affichage (31), lequel modèle montre au moins une partie des os et/ou des dents de la zone crânienne du patient et au moins une partie de la texture de la zone faciale du patient.
     
    17. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-16, caractérisé en ce que ledit au moins un laser ou un autre agencement d'éclairage (24) comprend un moyen pour produire un laser vert ou un autre éventail lumineux et le diriger vers le visage du patient positionné dans le poste d'imagerie (18) afin de créer une ligne de lumière étroite sensiblement verticale sur le visage du patient et/ou deux lasers (24), dont le premier est agencé pour produire de la lumière laser d'une première couleur et le second de la lumière laser d'une seconde couleur.
     
    18. Appareil d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-17, caractérisé en ce que l'appareil comprend au moins deux structures d'éclairage pour éclairer le visage (23) du patient devant lequel est ou sont agencés un film de diffusion et/ou un polariseur.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description