General Dentistry

Working with a Patient

Prevention is the Best Medicine

At DeFelice Dentistry, we take a preventive, holistic approach to dentistry. We would much rather educate our patients and provide regular preventive care and maintenance than have to treat painful and costly problems down the road. We believe the best dental treatment is no dental treatment. We just want you to be healthy! We consider each patient as a whole person, not just a set of teeth. That means we consider your diet and lifestyle when making recommendations to improve your oral and overall health. Our primary goal with preventive care is to eliminate the bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay and gum disease. A simple improvement to your oral hygiene routine could prevent a heart attack years down the road. That’s why you should come see us at DeFelice Dentistry for dental care designed for overall health.

Care Today for a Healthier Tomorrow

Schedule a cleaning & exam today!

Oral Hygiene

It may sound cliché, but oral hygiene really is the most important factor when it comes to oral health. The bacteria that live in your mouth feed on sugar. When you don’t brush and floss, these bacteria feast on the sugar and plaque left behind. They multiply and produce acidity that eats away at your enamel, causing tooth decay and cavities. When plaque is left on the teeth, it eventually hardens into tartar that can only be removed by a dentist. Tartar buildup around and under the gum line causes gum disease.

If you are not diligent about your daily oral hygiene routine, you will experience tooth decay and gum disease later on. The good news is, preventing these problems is simple with good oral home care and regular visits with Dr. DeFelice and our team at DeFelice Dentistry.

Professional Cleanings

When we only see you twice yearly for cleanings and exams, the rest of the year it’s up to you to keep your smile clean and healthy. But your regular cleanings are essential because our team has the training and tools to remove tricky tartar buildup and get in those hard to reach places that you may miss. Our hygiene team is incredibly gentle for a pain-free cleaning, yet impressively thorough to leave nothing behind.

Oral Homecare

  1. Invest in an electric toothbrush. Sonicare® is our favorite.
  2. Brush thoroughly for at least two minutes at least twice every day.
  3. Brush before meals, not after. The acidic environment in the mouth after eating can damage the enamel when brushed.
  4. Brush or scrape the tongue to eliminate bacteria and bad breath.
  5. Floss between teeth every day. If you don’t floss you are missing 35% of your tooth surface.
  6. Rinse with mouthwash to kill even more bacteria in other areas of the mouth and prevent gingivitis.
  7. Swish with water after eating or drinking and when brushing and flossing is not available.

Oral Hygiene - Floss, Brush, Rinse

Oral Hygiene Techniques

Plaque and CalculusProgression of Decay

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush

What Are Good Hygiene Habits?

Gum Disease

Did you know that most American adults have some level of gum disease? Did you know that left untreated, gum disease can not only wreak havoc on your oral health but can significantly increase your risk of developing serious health problems?

When you don’t brush well enough or don’t floss regularly, you leave plaque around and under the gum line. Over time, that plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates the gums to the point where they begin to pull away from the teeth. Deep pockets form between the gums and teeth, giving bacteria a nice warm place to hide and multiply. Left untreated, gum disease can tooth loss and can contribute to heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and upwards of 50 other serious diseases.

If you are only in the initial gingivitis phase, we may be able to reverse gum disease with some simple changes to your oral hygiene routine. Eating a healthy, alkaline diet will help reduce inflammation and balance your pH for healthier gums. We have specialty Tooth & Gums Tonic® and other products to help you get gum disease bacteria under control.

Gum Disease Infographic

Click the image above to expand

If you have more advanced gum disease or periodontitis, treatment may require more regular deep cleanings, physical removal of the infection under the gums and reattachment of the gum tissue in a healthier position.

Composite Filling

Filling vs. Crown

Mercury-Free, Tooth Colored Fillings

Even with the most diligent oral hygiene, sometimes decay and cavities can still happen. Tooth decay, or dental caries, is one of the most common diseases in the world, second only to the common cold. Tooth decay can infect anyone at any time, regardless of your age. Adults get cavities, too!

Thankfully, at DeFelice Dentistry, we use laser cavity detection technology to detect and treat cavities earlier than ever, before they damage more of your healthy tooth structure. We use mercury-free, tooth colored fillings to restore the tooth and prevent further decay for a beautiful, healthy, seamless smile.

Tooth Colored vs. Metal Fillings

  • Metal fillings contain toxic mercury and can cause mercury poisoning. Tooth colored fillings are completely safe for the human body.
  • Metal fillings are unstable with temperature changes, causing them to expand, contract, and crack, leaving room for decay to enter. Tooth colored fillings are more stable and durable.
  • Metal fillings leave teeth with ugly dark spots. Tooth colored fillings blend in seamlessly with natural teeth.

If you still have old metal fillings lurking in your mouth, it may be in your best interest to have them removed and replaced with a safer, modern alternative. We are happy to provide Safe Mercury Filling Removal to help improve the health and quality of life of our patients.

Oral Cancer Screenings

When you typically only see your naturopath or physician when a problem arises, your dentist is in a unique position (inside your mouth!) to detect and diagnose oral cancer before it progresses. We are always on the lookout for any changes or abnormalities in your mouth that may be signs of oral cancer. You should also be on the lookout in your mouth and on your body in general for lumps and skin abnormalities that may be a sign of something worse, especially if you fall into any of the high-risk categories.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of oral cancer can be found on the lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, throat, or any surface inside or around the mouth.

  • Swelling, thickening, lumps, rough spots, crusting, or erosion
  • Velvety white, red, or speckled patches
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Numbness or loss of feeling
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Persistent sores
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, change in voice
  • Ear pain

Risk Factors

  • Smoking – Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers
  • Chewing – Patients who dip, snuff, or chew are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Alcohol – Oral cancer is six times more common in drinkers than non-drinkers
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • HPV

Oral Cancer Infographic

Click the image above to expand



Progression of Decay

Causes of Tooth Pain


If you or your little one or teen is involved in any type of contact sports, a mouthguard can minimize the impact of oral injuries, prevent tooth loss, and even prevent concussions. After your baby teeth are gone, your adult teeth are the only set you’ve got, so you should protect them at all costs.

Types of Mouthguards

  1. Stock mouthguards can be purchased at your local sporting goods store. Stock mouthguards are the most affordable, but they are not fitted to your mouth so they are not comfortable and don’t fit well.
  2. Boil and bite mouthguards are more customizable, as they are meant to be boiled and then molded to fit your mouth.
  3. Custom mouthguards can be provided by your dentist and are custom made to fit your mouth. Custom mouthguards offer the most comfortable fit and the highest level of protection against oral injuries and concussions.

Night Guards & Oral Appliances

If you suffer from teeth grinding (bruxism), TMJ/TMD, snoring or sleep apnea, we can protect your teeth and restore the delicate balance of your jaw and airway with a custom night guard or oral appliance. We can create a custom appliance just for you to fit your needs.

Why Do Teeth Crack?

Cracked Tooth


Come See Us Today For a Healthier Tomorrow

Schedule a visit today!

Contact Us

If you have any questions about general dentistry or would like to schedule a visit with your Spokane general dentist, Dr. DeFelice at DeFelice Dentistry, give us a call today or request an appointment online! We are happy to provide quality dental care for our patients from Spokane, Spokane Valley, Airway Heights, Country Homes, Fairwood, Geiger, and beyond.

DeFelice Dentistry

4703 N. Maple St.
Spokane, WA 99205
Call (509) 850-0918
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Monday - Wednesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

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Our doctors are general dentists providing orthodontic services.

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