Robert “Robbie” Rheinlander, claiming he had been a dentist in South Carolina before moving to Florida, began performing tooth extractions and examinations and making dentures out of his home or at patients’ homes, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Rheinlander, of Palmetto, would offer to do the work out of the office, claiming to help people save money.
Only investigators say he was never a dentist in South Carolina.
He had been licensed as a dental technician from February 2004 to March 2006, during which time he had been disciplined, detectives learned from the South Carolina Board of Dentistry. Rheinlander did not have any dental or medical licenses in Florida.
Rheinlander was arrested Wednesday and charged with practicing dentistry without a license. He was released from the Manatee County jail Thursday on a $1,500 bond.
On Sept. 29, the sheriff’s office first learned of the allegations that Rheinlander was practicing dentistry without a license when a couple came in asking to speak to a detective, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
The husband and wife told the detective they were introduced to Rheinlander by a mutual friend and that in later social interactions Rheinlander told them he was a dentist and had a dental practice in South Carolina before moving to Florida. The couple said they paid Rheinlander cash and that he had offered to do the work from home to keep costs low.
But when Rheinlander extracted a tooth from the wife, leaving a tooth fragment behind and causing her medical complications, they began their own research and soon discovered that he was not a dentist.
The couple also told detectives about another potential patient they had introduced to Rheinlander before knowing he wasn’t a dentist. When detectives met with that patient, the man said Rheinlander had pulled about 10 teeth without anesthetic for him and made him dentures.
Rheinlander was contacted by a detective, working undercover, and also arranged to meet him for dental work, according to investigators.