Kristie Noem poses as a dental hygienist
Governor Noem

Houston dental practice in national controversy

March 19, 2024
When the governor of South Dakota posted a promotional video about Smile Dental, where she received treatment, she was sued by Travelers United.
Meg Kaiser, Associate Editor

A Houston, Texas, dental practice may be asking whether “any publicity is good publicity” after recently becoming embroiled in a controversy surrounding a video released by South Dakota governor Kristi Noem. Several major news outlets have reported on the controversy since Noem posted what’s described as an “infomercial-type video” on social media platforms on March 11.

The video features Noem explaining the dental work she received at Smile Texas, located in Sugar Land, Texas. Dr. Bret Davis is shown in the video with Noem, working chairside and posing for photos with her. Noem praises the “entire team,” calling out Drs. Davis and Mackenzi McAfee-Dooley by name.

She says she had a biking accident years ago, her teeth were damaged, and she’s needed to have her teeth “adjusted” ever since. Noem explains that she consulted with Smile Texas years ago, but “never could quite find the time.”

She talks about why she chose this particular dental practice. Check out what she has to say in the now viral video. Many social media commenters ask the obvious question: why didn’t she stay in her own state for her cosmetic dental work?

Why is there such a controversy surrounding the video? Noem is now being sued by Travelers United, an advocacy group that claims Noem created an “undisclosed advertisement” for Smile Texas. According to a CNN article, “There are many dentists and cosmetic dentists in South Dakota,” the lawsuit claims, adding, “No one with an extremely important job in South Dakota would fly to Texas to receive dental treatment and then sit in that office and film an advertisement without some form of compensation.”

An article on states, "The lawsuit alleges that Noem, in sharing the Smile Texas plug to her personal social accounts without any sort of label, advertised a product or service without disclosing that she has a financial relationship with that company."

As for their part, Smile Texas posted the video featuring Noem with these comments: “This gracious leading lady just received an executive, feminine, beautiful smile here at Smile Texas. I’ll be posting later how we achieved this smile on this gracious, calm, and courageous patriot. #therealdrbretdavis”

To top it all off, Noem has created a series of commercials touting the job opportunities available in South Dakota. She did not overlook the dental profession. How do you think she presents herself as a dental hygienist in this video?