CT Scans are sometimes called ‘cat scans’.
CT scans are often used when having implants that are more complex. A ct scan allows me to see your jaw in 3-D. The machine used to take the image allows the CT scan to be taken while you sit upright in about 20 seconds.
Regular x-rays are great, but have limitations. I can only see two dimensions. I cannot tell how wide your bone is. I can only tell how tall it is. Looking at the width of the bone in the mouth is inaccurate for areas where the bone is small since the overlying gums may be thick.
The biggest advantage to ct scans is the ability to do "virtual surgery." that means I do surgery on the computer before I ever even touch your mouth! The ct shows the important anatomy, sinuses, nerves and arteries thereby improving greatly safety. Often times I transfer the surgery from the computer to your mouth with special positioning guides.
These pictures are some samples of surgery on the computer.