TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The dentist blames his now-former office, and the office manager blames the dentist.

Stuck in the middle — patients like disabled veteran Peter Lehr, who wanted new teeth so he could smile again.

The promise of a new smile brought Lehr to Modern Dental about two years ago, hoping to have his new front teeth in place by last Christmas. But there would be months of delays.

Tampa dental patients not smiling after paying for teeth they didn’t get

Lehr’s younger brother, Eric, helped him fight through the problem that eventually added up to nearly a year.

“These four,” Eric Lehr said, pointing to the teeth his brother paid for. “It’s not easy to laugh with your mouth closed or talk to people without your teeth showing at some point.”

Records show Lehr paid just over $7,000 for the implants. Dr. Herman Goh, who worked for Modern Dental at the time, installed metal posts for Lehr in April of last year. The teeth were scheduled to be screwed in last November.

“Then two days before Dr. Goh’s appointment, they called me and said he’s no longer in the practice,” Eric Lehr said. “The new office said they would do it but they wanted $3,600 more when he already paid in full.”

Is disaster relief adding to undisclosed DEO backlog of COVID-related claims?

The Lehrs filed a civil lawsuit in February that eventually went to mediation. Lehr agreed to allow Goh to finish the work at his new office in Spring Hill for a $65 co-pay.

“It should not have taken eight months,” Eric Lehr said. “It was just a lot of running around and I think most people give up.”

According to Lehr, Modern Dental Managing Director Melanie Deloye said there were at least 18 other patients “abandoned” by Goh.

Goh denied he abandoned his patients, saying he gave Modern Dental a 45-day notice he was leaving.

Deloye turned down a request for comment.

Goh said he did not do anything wrong, and he blamed delays on an illness in his family. He said he has finished implant procedures at his new office for 21 of his Modern Dental patients.

But there are other complaints, including a lawsuit filed last Friday by Poonam Uppal of Clearwater. She claims she paid for three implants but only two were installed.

“The dentist blames the office, and the office blames the dentist,” Uppal stated in her lawsuit.

She also claims, “two implants that have been put in my mouth keep giving me problems.”

“My bite is off,” she stated. “I keep biting my cheek.”

Goh has not yet responded to Uppal’s lawsuit.

Goh’s former patient, Barbara Schulte, said she is in the process of filing a lawsuit to demand a refund after Goh installed two posts but no teeth in May of last year.

“It’s just excuse, excuse and stringing me along,” Schulte said. “I gave him three chances to make it right. He did not.”

Goh said he cannot provide a refund because he claims the money went to Modern Dental, not him. Lehr’s lawsuit stated Deloye claimed “Dr. Goh had been paid in full.”

Goh has an unblemished record with the Department of Health, according to its website.