Dr. Regina “Ninay” Santos Morales: Never underestimate the power of your gums

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo - The Philippine Star
Dr. Regina �Ninay� Santos Morales: Never underestimate the power of your gums
Dr. Regina “Ninay” Santos Morales.

It was one of her father’s last wishes for his youngest child Regina or “Ninay” to become a dentist. She was then 13 years old and at the time, being a dentist was the furthest thing from her mind. But as the saying goes, father knows best, and many years later, Ninay found herself getting more and more interested in becoming a dentist.
Dr. Ninay Santos Morales graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Dentistry in Manila in 1992, where she graduated in the top three of her class. She placed second out of 1,628 candidates at the Philippine Dental Board exams that year.

In 1993, she was accepted at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where she received her Certificate of Periodontics in 1995. She was the youngest in her class of 10. After her postgraduate studies, she was invited to become a teaching fellow at the Department of Periodontics in the same university and was given the chance to treat advanced periodontal plastic surgery cases under master clinician Dr. Jay Seibert.

From 1994 to 1996, she was a clinical instructor and full-time lecturer of Periodontology in their undergraduate program. In 1996, she continued her training in Implant Dentistry through the Nobel Biocare Implant Fellowship also in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Implant Center under Dr. Henry Salama, Dr. Arnold Weisgold and Dr. Morton Amsterdam. She was the very first foreign-trained dentist to be accepted in this extensive implant fellowship (which only accepts one fellow per year).

Upon her graduation, she was awarded the distinguished Director’s Award, Chace Scholarship Award and Coslet Scholarship Award given to the most outstanding student. In her quest for excellence, she focused her practice on the treatment of gum diseases, esthetic gum surgery and implant placement to further hone her skills and master her craft.

We asked her what made her decide to specialize in periodontics, and she said, “Periodontics is the specialty that deals with diagnosis and treatment of the supporting structures of the teeth, which are the gums and bone structure that holds your teeth in place. It is the backbone of all fields in dentistry. And with this, I like working with my dental colleagues as a team, to help patients reach their goal of having healthy teeth, gums and implants.”

What is her advice to those who want to become doctors? “You have to like what you do. You will only excel in what you do if you have passion for it. Get the best education you can get. Listen to your parents. Listen to your heart. Be positive and go with the flow. To be a doctor is never easy. It is very challenging yet rewarding. All the time and effort you put in now will pay off once you see your patients happy and relieved of their conditions.

“Life presents itself as a puzzle. Each little piece will be completed not in the easiest way. It takes time and patience, perseverance to finish the puzzle. And remember, God is the frame that keeps the puzzle pieces together.”

Arianna, Gerard, Dr. Morales and Alexa.

Read on as Dr. Ninay shares with us the importance of having healthy gums.

1. Maintaining healthy gums is crucial for overall oral health. They act as a protective barrier, preventing bacteria from entering the bloodstream and causing oral infections. They prevent the appearance of periodontal disease symptoms such as pain, bleeding and swollen gums with abscess formation, moving teeth, sensitivity to hot and cold, and bad breath.

2. Research suggests that there is a link between gum disease and systemic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, low birth weight and osteoporosis. By maintaining healthy gums, you may reduce the risk of developing these serious health problems.

3. Studies also show that bacteria from periodontal disease may play a role in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Healthy gums are the foundation of all the other disciplines of dentistry. By maintaining healthy gums, individuals can proceed with restorative, prosthodontic, implant, endodontic, and orthodontic treatment without complications that may arise with these treatments.

5. Maintaining healthy gums is a preventive measure against tooth sensitivity. Receding gums, often caused by gum disease, can expose the sensitive roots of your teeth, leading to discomfort and pain when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages.

6. Poor gum health can affect your ability to eat and speak properly. Gum disease can cause gum inflammation and pain, making it difficult to chew food or pronounce certain words.

7. Healthy gums contribute to a beautiful smile. When your gums are healthy, they provide a strong foundation for your teeth, which can prevent periodontitis, a serious gum disease that can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. This can cause your teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss.

8. Healthy gums can help minimize pregnancy complications. Maternal periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm delivery and low birthweight in infants.

9. Having healthy gums promotes fresh breath. Gum disease can cause persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis. By keeping your gums healthy, you can avoid this embarrassing issue.

10. Lastly, having healthy gums is an investment in your future oral health. By prioritizing gum health now, you can enjoy a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth and gums, reducing the likelihood of needing extensive dental treatments in the future.



We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with