This hard-working mother of triplets and former Air Force Captain has just opened a new dental practice devoted to a holistic approach to dentistry that has cutting-edge technology and a focus on the whole patient, and she’ll make you think about all the ways you can apply intentional, healthy care to your teeth. Plus, as the mother of a child with autism, she has a special Desensitizing Dentistry program for those with sensory issues. In her spare time, she is a big advocate of the minimalist lifestyle and a capsule wardrobe, lessening all the anxiety that zaps time and energy. Be sure to read about the harrowing story of how she got the name of her practice below — it’s a miracle she is here today with three healthy children. Meet Dr. Krysta Manning of Solstice Dental and Aesthetics, our newest FACE of Louisville!
Tell us a little bit about your background.
While I was born in Louisville, I spent most of my childhood in Russellville, KY. After graduating high school, I went to Transylvania University, where I majored in Biology and Classics with a minor in Communication. I had initially gone to college as a pre-med student, but upon graduation I didn’t feel like medical school was the right fit for me. I moved to Louisville on a whim and spent a year working odd jobs and soul-searching. I worked at Target in guest services, reshelved books at Borders bookstore, substitute-taught at JCPS and worked the sterilization center at a dental office.
I was eating ramen noodles and talking to my mom on the phone one night when she said, “Have you ever thought about dental school?” I hadn’t. She agreed to pay for the admissions test if I was willing to take it. I did well, applied and was accepted. Not a very romantic story, but it was the first step on the path to get me where I am today.
Tell us about your time in the Air Force and your humanitarian dental missions.
I spent three years as a Captain in the Air Force. I was stationed in Colorado Springs, where I cared for the dental health of active duty Air Force members. It was an amazing environment for learning the skills I needed to become both a great dentist and a competent leader.
During dental school, I went on multiple humanitarian trips to Red Bank, Belize. While we were there, we set up a mobile dental clinic where we were able to do fillings and extractions to protect the health of the people in the village. We also taught oral hygiene in the schools and provided everyone with toothbrushes and toothpaste to maintain their hygiene while we were away. Going to the same location year after year helped me to recognize the impact that we were able to have by offering dental services to this population. We were extracting fewer teeth and seeing less cavities. It was an amazing transformation in a short period of time.
What is the Desensitizing Dentistry Program for patients with sensory challenges that you offer?
At my office, I offer a Desensitizing Dentistry Program for patients with sensory processing challenges. In general, we begin with an appointment designed to get to know the patient. We learn all that we can about the patient’s needs and preferences. In some instances, we are able to complete a cleaning and exam at the initial visit. In other circumstances, it takes several appointments to acclimate a patient to the office, build trust and make them feel comfortable with the procedures. The program is tailored very specifically to the needs of the patient. As a mother of a child with autism, I’m aware of what they say: If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.
Tell us the story behind the name of your dental practice Solstice.
I love being a business owner and enjoy my work, but I genuinely believe that behind every successful person, there is a “why” that fuels their passion. I knew that I wanted my business name to reflect that. For me, the most pivotal day of my life was the summer solstice in 2013. On that day, my triplets came screaming into the world 10 weeks before their due date. I almost didn’t make it through the delivery. I lost more than half of the blood in my body and was unconscious for 17 hours after. When you experience something like that, it gives you strength and depth to push forward with creating the best life possible. The name of my practice is a dedication to my children, without whom I would not be the person I am.
You have a holistic approach to dentistry. What does that mean, and can you tell us some specific examples?
A patient coming into our office isn’t just another set of teeth. They are a complex individual with a unique circumstances and concerns. A patient coming into my office would never hear, “You have five cavities. See you for fillings next week!” We would instead take the time to explore what led to those five cavities. Has there been a change in your diet? Maybe you’ve just become a new mom and you’re now drinking coffee with cream in it around the clock. That’s a change that’s affecting your dental health. But if we don’t take the time to explore it, you’re going to keep having the same problems over and over again.
In addition to considering the history and habits of the patient in the chair, we also take time to carefully review the ingredients in our materials. All of our filling materials are BPA-, metal- and mercury-free. While patients are often aware of the presence of mercury in silver fillings, they may be unaware that many white filling materials and sealant materials contain BPA, which is a known endocrine disruptor.
Our cleaning paste is gluten-free, our disposables are latex-free, and we have fluoride-free options for patients who feel uncomfortable with fluoride. The X-ray system that we use has a third less radiation than traditional systems, and the aprons that we use to shield patients from X-ray scatter are lead-free. We even carry a variety of eco-friendly, healthy oral hygiene products for patients to purchase for use at home.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I keep a capsule wardrobe and consider myself a minimalist.
What are three words that describe you?
Kind, conscientious, introspective
What advice do you treasure?
When I was in college, my dad told me, “No decision impacts your life more than the person you choose to marry.” I took that advice to heart. When I finally settled down with my husband, Ryan, I realized just how right my dad was. I would not be even half as successful without Ryan’s unwavering support.
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I love taking my children to The Louisville Zoo and Beckley Creek Park. When I’m on my own, I enjoy sitting down at Please and Thank You with one of their glorious chocolate chip cookies, coffee and a good book.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
JW cafe & bakery has amazing coffee and pastries and lunch. If I’m downtown, I try to talk whoever I’m with into going to Toast on Market for brunch and mimosas. Closer to home in Jeffersontown, Cafe at Main is amazing, and my kids had a blast at Mac’s Dough House. I also love Morels Cafe and Heart and Soy for great meat- and dairy-free options.
What are three of your favorite things right now?
- Dollface Brows and Beauty — They’ve been rehabilitating my eyebrows after years of bad threading. They’re amazing!
- YouTube: More specifically, videos of people cleaning and organizing their houses. I love a good before-and-after!
- SixPax Fitness: Working out with my team is giving me life right now.
Thank you, Krysta. And thank you to Adele Reding of Adele Reding Photography for the beautiful pictures of Krysta.
To be inspired by other great women in Louisville, check out our other FACES of Louisville here.