Dr. Robert Garelick Maintains Innocence; Hygienists: We've Never See Him Drunk

LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A well-regarded dentist on Long Island spent Monday night in jail, accused of boozing it up and then performing a complicated drilling procedure in the mouth of his patient.

Doctor Robert Garelick appeared to smirk as police led him handcuffed to court, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.

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“Suffolk County police arrested a dentist who was under the influence of alcohol while he conducted a dental procedure on a patient yesterday afternoon,” police spokesperson Kerry Pecorino told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

It is not clear what procedure Garelick was conducting at the time of his arrest.

On north Wellwood Avenue at the Lindenhurst dental offices of Dr. Garelick, CBS 2 asked the dental hygienists in his private practice if they had observed any drunken behavior.

“We’re not sure what’s going on right now,” was one of the answers received.

A patient claimed to smell his boozy breath during a drilling procedure and became so alarmed she called police, who entered the office to interview the dentist, CBS 2’s McLogan reported.

According to the district attorney, Dr. Garelick, 57, said he might have had a couple of beers at lunch. However, detectives allegedly  confiscated a water bottle with alcohol in it, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

According to court papers Dr. Garelick stated, “I know I did something incredibly stupid.”

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“It doesn’t appear that she suffered from any injury, which is certainly important. There can be a whole host of reasons why someone may not be acting in the manner you would expect them to,” said Randy Zelin, Garelick’s attorney.

Garelick lives in Melville and is married with two children. He has a clean medical record, according to the state.

His wife declined comment at court.

Another patient said the doctor is respected in the community. Others called the allegations outrageous.

“I think it’s horrible. People are afraid of going to the dentist to start with,” one person said.

“He should be treated like DWI person is treated,” another said.

Employees in Garelick’s office said they never saw him drunk while at work.

The dentist was charged with reckless endangerment in the second-degree. He maintained his innocence after being released on his own recognizance on Tuesday, but if found guilty he could face fines, censure, reprimand, and even the loss of his medical license.

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