Dr. Leslie Pitner, D.D.S., M.S.

I love creating beautiful smiles and I feel privileged to serve my patients and be a small part of their lives! I take pride in caring for each patient to the best of my ability and see my work as essential to my life’s purpose. I commit every day to passing on my enthusiasm to each patient and family that is a part of our practice. Unlike other orthodontists, I have an unique educational background in art and psychology so I understand exactly how to create a beautiful smile for each patient and know the huge role a smile plays in how other see us and how we feel about ourselves. You could say that making people smile is in my DNA as I am very proud to continue the practice begun by my father, Dr. John Pitner, over 40 years ago.

Background & Education

I graduated from Chapin High School in 1986 before attending Williams College, where I received my undergraduate degree in 1990. At Williams, I majored in art and graduated with highest honors, earning membership in Phi Beta Kappa. After completing a master’s degree in art history at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995, I decided to pursue a career in dentistry. I graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in 2002, where I was elected to membership in OKU, a dental honor society. I also completed my specialty certificate at UNC and received my Master of Science in Orthodontics in 2005. Beyond my technical training in dentistry and orthodontics, I also completed an unique master’s degree program in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Positive psychology focuses on personal growth and happiness (rather than pathology and mental illness) in human development.

Orthodontist Dr. Pitner in the Office


Teaching and Service

I love to teach and share what I have learned. I have lectured across the U.S. on aesthetic orthodontics, primarily on hidden lingual braces. I have also lectured on the psychology of the smile based on the original research I did for my masters degree in positive psychology. I continue to be active in teaching and research and, most recently, have given seminars at the University of North Carolina and the University of Illinois. I also serve on the board of reviewers for the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, the most prestigious scientific journal in orthodontics.


I am happy to be part of the business community in my hometown of Columbia, SC. My husband, Kirk Kicklighter, and I enjoy living downtown in the Shandon area. I am still passionate about art – both making it and collecting it. I love finding new artists among my patients and you will find many pieces of mine and theirs in the offices. I am also endlessly curious, so I love to read and write about new ideas and travel to new places. I also spend several weekends a year at road tracks racing my Miata.