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Dentist accused of being drunk to reopen office

Robert B. Garelick, 57, of Melville, is led

Robert B. Garelick, 57, of Melville, is led out of the First Precinct for arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court. (Jan. 22, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

A Lindenhurst dentist accused of practicing while intoxicated plans to reopen his office Thursday, according to a recorded message on the office's phone.

Robert Garelick, 57, who was arrested late Monday after a concerned staffer called police, has not had his license to practice dentistry suspended, state officials said.

"The office is now closed, but we'll be open . . . on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 3 p.m.," the phone message says.

Garelick, arraigned Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree reckless endangerment, was released without bail. He could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

The allegations against Garelick surfaced Monday when dental assistant Kimberly Curtis told police she smelled alcohol on his breath. She said he made major mistakes during the day, including injecting anesthesia in the wrong side of a patient's mouth, according to court documents.

Curtis also told police she saw Garelick drinking from a white-and-purple bottle before picking up a drill to file another patient's chipped tooth at about 4:30 p.m. While Garelick was busy, Curtis found the bottle in his desk.

"I opened it and smelled vodka in it," Curtis told police.

After his arrest, police said Garelick admitted he had been drinking that day, according to court documents.

Jonathan Burman, a spokesman for the state Education Department's Office of the Professions, which licenses dentists, would not say whether the agency has launched an investigation into possible professional misconduct. "By law, I am prohibited from saying whether an investigation is being conducted," he said Wednesday.

Dentists found to have committed misconduct face potential penalties ranging from a reprimand to suspension.

Garelick, who has been practicing for more than 30 years, has no record of professional discipline, records show.

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