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Local dentist highlights safety measures of COVID era

By DAVE SCHWAB | La Mesa Courier

Dr. Larry R. Pawl, DMD, has installed advanced technology to make his La Mesa dental office super safe during COVID and beyond.

“We took a three-prong attack on COVID,” confided Pawl, whose office has been at 7339 El Cajon Blvd., Suite F for 14 years. “We went with a MERV 13 air filter, which is one step below hospital-grade filters.”

MERV 13 is a pleated filter utilizing an electrostatic charge to remove very fine particles from air. MERV 13 filters trap 98% of airborne particles as small as .3 microns. It is claimed MERVs work up to 30 times more effectively and last three times longer than ordinary fiberglass filters.

“The next prong of our attack was to stop the aerosols (sprayed droplets) coming out of patient’s mouths,” said Pawl. “We use an isolite dental mouthpiece, a mouth piece that is soft and the patient comfortably bites down on it, and it has suction, which not only keeps the aerosols down, but keeps the humidity in the person’s mouth down which gives wonderful, long-lasting restorations because there’s no moisture to contaminate fillings.”

The third and final anti-COVID “prong” said Pawl involved investing in a Jade air purifier to cleanse every one of his dental office rooms. “It’s touted as the world’s most advanced, stand-alone, medical-grade air purifier that will completely purify the air in a room every three minutes,” he said. “And the noise level is equal to the sound of a dishwasher working.”

Added Pawl, “The air that’s coming out (purifier) is like the air that you breath after a rainstorm. It has that clean, fresh feeling. I’m no longer tired at 3 p.m. And knowing that the room is completely clean of dust, bacteria and viruses every three minutes is a wonderful sense of security.”

Jade Air Unit 081720

Pawl pointed out he’s glad he spent the money “to do it now because in the future, I think it (air purifiers) will become mandatory for all dentists.”

Pawl’s patients are appreciative of his technology upgrades.

“They are very aware of it,” he said. “They thank me for investing in this technology to make them safe.”

Asked if he always wanted to be a dentist, Pawl replied, “From age 9 I wanted to be a marine biologist and work with Jacques Cousteau. But in my sophomore year of college, my marine biology bubble was burst. I realized working with Cousteau was not going to happen. Through serendipity, I had a dental appointment that afternoon and talked with my family dentist. I decided then and there, that’s what I was going to do.”

Of his profession Pawl said, “I like being a general dentist because you do a little bit of everything, and you have to have a broader knowledge of all the fields of dentistry.”

Looking ahead to the future of dentistry, Pawl gave a prediction.

“Miniaturization is going to be a part of dentistry, having a camera small enough to fit on a dental hand piece that the dentist can look at on a screen,” forecasted Pawl. “The materials used to fill cavities will be better, stronger, last longer. They may even eventually come up with some sort of vaccine to keep teeth from becoming susceptible to decay.”

Pawl gave some helpful advice for tooth care.

“Limit your intake of soda and sugary foods,” he counseled. “Use a Sonic Care toothbrush. Those clean marvelously when used properly. You feel like you just got your teeth cleaned by a hygienist. And see your dentist on a regular basis, so if something occurs, they can find it early.”

Any message for people out there about dentistry?

“The profession of dentistry has always been above and beyond in cleanliness,” Pawl concluded. “You should not be afraid of going to the dentist.”

Contact Pawl’s office at 619-466-4544 or visit

— Reach contributing editor Dave Schwab at

Source: La Mesa Currier

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