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Lindenhurst dentist facing charges reopens 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 reopened his office Thursday, but a receptionist said he didn't come to work.

Robert Garelick, 57, who was arrested late Monday after a concerned staffer called police, still has his license to practice dentistry.

"The doctor is not here," the unidentified employee said Thursday afternoon.

In the waiting area was a woman filling out forms. A second woman and a young girl emerged from deeper inside the dentist's office, but the pair declined to comment as they left the building.

The allegations against Garelick surfaced Monday when dental assistant Kimberly Curtis told police she smelled alcohol on his breath. She said she saw Garelick made 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.

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

First, Garelick told police he had a "couple" of beers with his pizza during lunch, but later corrected himself, according to court records.

"I never had any beers with my pizza," Garelick said. "I've been sipping at that bottle all along today."

Garelick, arraigned Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree reckless endangerment, was released the same day without bail. He did not return calls Thursday.

Some patients who showed up at Garelick's office Thursday defended him.

Sara Lorch, 22, of Lindenhurst, is a patient of Garelick's since she was a little girl. She and other family members are "going to stick with him," she said.

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