Teeth cleaning (prophylaxis) by a dental hygienist removes plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine toothbrushing. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling by a registered dental hygienist or dentist and tooth polishing. A cleaning is followed by a dental examination by your dentist. Dr Lowry will consider your current dental treatment and past dental history to make recommendations for which x-rays need to be taken as part of your exam. Dential x-rays are very low dosage and are considered safe, and we take every precaution to make sure that our patients do not receive more radiation than necessary. However, there are huge benefits to taking x-rays as they allow your dentist to diagnose problems at an early stage where they can be treated with a more simple procedure or sometimes even reversed; also some serious dental health risks such as abcess infections and even cancer can be detected with x rays before they cause systemic effects. See this article regarding risks/benefits of dental x-rays. Dr Lowry also performs routine head/neck exams and oral cancer screenings on each patient.