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 is a native of Columbus, MS and graduated from Columbus High School in 1999.  Attended MUW and EMCC, where she took prerequisites for Dental Hygiene/Nursing, and received an Associates Of Liberal Arts Degree.  She is a 2009 graduate of NEMCC, in Booneville, MS, with an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. Marisa received her National Board Licensure and MS State Board of Dental Examiners Dental Hygiene Licensure in June 2009.  AL Dental Hygiene Licensure was received July 2009.  Also, Marisa has been certified in CPR, AED, and Radiology permit since 2003.  While attending NEMCC, Marisa was a President’s List Scholar, 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 currently a Colgate Oral Health Advisor.

Marisa loves the many aspects of dental hygiene and enjoys constantly learning 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 needs and treatment. She brings more than 5 years experience to her role by previously working as a Periodontal Surgical Technician.  “Perio is my passion.”

Marisa has been married 18 years, to Jeff Pyle, of Columbus, MS. He is owner of Cafe on Main and a Police Officer part time. They have 3 girls- Madison, Briley, and Kennedy. In her spare time, she loves to cook, attends bingo or the movies, church, and loves spending time with her family.


Nikki O’Brian, RDH

Nikki is a 1998 graduate of Northeast MS Community College. After 22 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 for the past 4 years. Her career is her passion. Nikki & her husband, Chris, have been married for 22 years and have two teenage 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 worked as his Dental Assistant from 1993-2003, then became his Office Manager.  She has been married to her best friend since 2008.  They have two sons between them, Destin and Jacob.  They also have two grandsons Easton and baby brother Elliot who will be arriving in January 2021.  They are members of Lighthouse Baptist Church and have served in the choir and in other areas of the church.

Life verse:  Psalm 62: 6&7 “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; 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 assisted since 2018 and enjoys the work she does each day. Recently married, she graduated from New Hope School in 2016 and went on to acquire an associate’s degree in 2017 from EMCC. During my college tenure, after working briefly as receptionist for Ascent, Briana realized her interest in dental assisting and took courses at Northeast Mississippi Community College, acquiring both a radiology certification and a CPR certification. With a genuine love for her work family and position, she’s proud of the inspiration and joy her work brings and loves bringing smiles to patients each day. Brianna attends New Covenant Baptist Church.

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.