Meet the Ascent Dental Team
Ascent Doctors

Jay Wiygul, DMD

Dr. Wiygul has been a resident of Columbus, MS, for thirty- five years. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Millsaps College in 1988 and received his doctorate at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. After graduating dental school in 1993, he began practicing dentistry in the Columbus community.

He is an active member of the Mississippi Dental Association and has served as President of District 1, Chairman of the State Peer Review Committee, and as a member of the State Board. 

As an active member of his community, Dr. Wiygul has served as Rotary Club President and has been distinguished as a Paul Harris Fellow. He has served on the State Board for Methodist Senior Services and the local Trinity Health Care Board. He is a member of First United Methodist Church where he has assumed many roles over the years including Chairman of Staff Parish Committee and Lay Leader. He has also provided dental treatment on several mission trips with First United Methodist Church. 

Dr. Wiygul and his wife Mary have four children: Carson, Foster, Sam, and Alden. He enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and playing golf.

Sydney Sanford, DMD

Dr. Sydney Sanford is a native of Kosciusko, MS. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Mississippi State University and received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry. She was the recipient of the Best and Brightest Dental Scholarship and the Excellence in Prosthodontics Award while in dental school. She is a member of the Mississippi Dental Association and American Dental Association. Dr. Sanford has been married to her husband William since 2017. They enjoy attending Mississippi State sporting events, traveling, and spending time with their chocolate lab Josie.


Marisa L. Pyle, RDH

Marisa Pyle is a native of Columbus, MS, and graduated from Columbus High School. She attended East Mississippi Community College, where she took dental hygiene prerequisites and received an Associate of Arts degree.  She is a 2009 graduate of Northeast Mississippi Community College, where she received her Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene degree. Marisa received her National Board Licensure, Mississippi dental hygiene licensure, and Alabama dental hygiene licensure in 2009. While attending dental hygiene school, Marisa was a President’s List Scholar and received the Colgate Star Award, Hu-Friedy Golden Scaler Award, and Radiology Achievement Award. She has been a member of the American Dental Hygiene Association since 2007 and is currently a Colgate Oral Health Advisor.

Marisa enjoys all aspects of dental hygiene, especially continuing education to learn the latest advancements in dental care and prevention. She loves getting to know her patients individually to provide high quality care. Marisa has a special interest in providing periodontal disease education and treatment. Perio is her passion after spending more than five years as a periodontal surgical technician prior to attending dental hygiene school.

Marisa has been married to Jeff Pyle, a Columbus police officer, since 2002. They also own the local restaurant, Cafe on Main. They have three daughters: Madison, Briley, and Kennedy. Marisa enjoys cooking, going to the movies, attending church, and spending time with her family.


Nikki O’Brian, RDH

Nikki O’Brian is a 1998 graduate of Northeast Mississippi Community College. After twenty-two years of experience in dental hygiene, she was so excited to join Dr. Wiygul and his staff at the beginning of 2020. Nikki was voted Best & Among the Best Dental Hygienist for the Golden Triangle Dispatch four year in a row. Her career is her passion. Nikki & her husband, Chris, have been married since 1998 and have two boys, Luke & Lane. She enjoys church worship, singing, playing tennis, & spending time with family.


Kelli Edwards
Office Manager

Kelli has worked with Dr. James Wiygul since 1993.  She began her career as his dental assistant for ten years and then transitioned to the office manager.  She has been married to her best friend David since 2008. They have two sons: Destin and Jacob.  They also have two grandsons: Easton and baby brother Elliot. They are members of Lighthouse Baptist Church and have served in the choir and in several other areas of the church.

Life verse: Psalm 62: 6&7 “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”


Briana  Lowery
Dental Assistant

Briana has been a dental assistant since 2018. She graduated from New Hope School in 2016 and received her Associate degree in 2017 from East Mississippi Community College. After working as a receptionist at Ascent Dental, Briana realized her interest in dental assisting and took courses at Northeast Mississippi Community College, acquiring both a radiology certification and a CPR certification. Briana has a genuine love for her work family and position and looks forward to bringing smiles to patients each day. Briana married her husband Jacob in 2020. They attend New Covenant Baptist Church and enjoy watching Alabama football games.

Katelyn Dismukes
Dental Assistant

Katelyn was born and raised in Columbus, Mississippi. Katelyn graduated from New Hope School in 2017. After high school she began working for her parents local restaurant, Cafe On Main. In 2019 Katelyn became a mother to a beautiful baby girl named Ella. Katelyn loves spending time with her daughter and watching her grow. Katelyn looks forward to growing as a Dental Assistant while building relationships with patients on a day to day basis.