Fake dentist arrested in Manatee County

A fake doctor with real consequences.

Deputies in Manatee County have charged Robert Rheinlander, 53, of Palmetto, with practicing without a license.

They say he pulled teeth and built dental fixtures for several people after telling them he was a real dentist.

One person developed an infection, another told investigators the procedures were done without anesthesia.

He charged $70 to pull teeth, and $50 for follow-up appointments.

He allegedly charged $450 for dentures.

Deputies say he illegally performed injections.

"Removing a tooth without properly knowing how to do it, you could cause facial paralysis that could last for a lifetime," said Alfredo Arauz, DMD.

Deputies say Rheinlander was not only unlicensed, but he had only been qualified to build dentures as a dental technician a decade ago in South Carolina.

He is said to have used stolen numbing agents and even traded some services for painkillers.

He allegedly left several with infections.

"It is not shocking there were complications with that type of treatment," said Arauz.

Arauz, says alleged frauds like Rheinlander hurt real doctors.

"This is something I am passionate about and I have worked my whole life towards, going to school for so many years," said Arauz. "To have someone doing this criminally is a concern, it puts people at risk, it gives dentistry a bad name."

One patient we spoke to told us they were in the process of hiring an attorney.

Another told deputies they went to Rheinlander for treatment because they couldn't afford to have teeth pulled by a real dentist.

We spoke extensively with Rheinlander's wife, but she would not comment on the record.

Rheinlander has bonded out of jail since his Wednesday.