MANATEE, Florida — A shady Florida man who performed tooth extractions on the cheap in people’s homes — in one case yanking 10 of a man’s teeth without anesthetic — has been busted for pretending to be a dentist.
Robert Rheinlander, 53, had been performing dentistry in the Bradenton area since at least 2013, pulling teeth and making dentures at cut-rate prices, and had claimed he had been a licensed in South Carolina.
But when he caused one woman, Rachel Potter, to get an infection after leaving a chunk of tooth behind in her jaw following an extraction, a records search showed he never had been a dentist. That led her and her husband, James, to go to police, who charged him with operating without a license.
Investigators determined that Rheinlander — who uses a prosthetic leg –had been licensed as a dental technician in South Carolina from February 2004 to March 2006, but had never been a dentist.
In a criminal complaint, sheriff’s deputies stated that Rheinlander had told the Potters that he obtained numbing agent and materials to make dentures from a friend who pilfered them from a legitimate dental practice and sometimes was unable to get what he needed to do his work.
In one case, detectives found a man, Jeffrey Ryan Hall, who said he had hired Rheinlander to pull 10 of his teeth, but it was done without anesthetic. Hall, who is currently incarcerated, said he coped by taking a doubly strong dose of methadone and Oxycodone that day. He said he opted to use Rheinlander because he only charged $600 for the job, as opposed to the $2,400 it would have cost him at a legitimate dentist.
In November, undercover detectives posing as patients contacted Rheinlander and he agreed to meet them to perform dental procedures. He was arrested on Dec. 7 and released on $1,500 bail the next day.