If you have developed symptoms of gum (periodontal) disease, a normal cleaning may not be adequate enough. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is typically treated at Something To Smile About with scaling and root planing. This is a periodontal procedure performed by Dr. Kevin Boulard, our general dentist. As a treatment for periodontal disease, scaling and root planing will help eliminate gingivitis by removing plaque and tartar buildup from below the gumline. With specific instruments, a scaling and root planing treatment at Something To Smile About cleans under the gumline then smooths the teeth to prevent future buildup. If you are concerned about your gums, find out more about scaling and root planing at Something To Smile About in Merrimack, NH.


Gingivitis causes inflammation, redness, and swelling in the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis and eventually tooth loss. Scaling and root planing cleanses under the gumline and works to improve your overall oral health. Patients choose to get treatment from Something To Smile About for many reasons, including:

  • Our experience performing scaling and root planing procedures
  • State-of-the-art technology and tools for precise treatments
  • A comfortable and relaxing environment
  • Our reputation for providing high-quality dental care


At your dental examination, Dr. Boulard will check the depth of your gum pockets. If the gum pockets, also called sulcus, are more than three millimeters, then a scaling and root planing therapy could be recommended. Scaling and root planing can help to decrease the size of your gum pockets so bacteria and plaque can’t accumulate in this area, which contributes to the very first phase of gum disease (gingivitis). A number of the early signs of gum disease are loose teeth, as well as gums that are are tender, swollen, bleed easily, appear red, or have begun to recede. When gum disease is diagnosed in the early stages, one or more scaling and root planing procedures can improve signs, but when gum disease has progressed to later phases (periodontitis or advanced periodontitis),  you may need more extensive treatments.


Scaling and root planing involve a deep cleaning that can be performed in our office with local numbing injections on the areas of your mouth being addressed. We might also suggest sedation methods if you are feeling anxious about having scaling and root planing. Dr. Boulard will use a scaling instrument to clean the built-up plaque and tartar below the gumline. Then, he will smooth or plane on the exterior of the enamel. This treatment should reduce the amount of areas where plaque and tartar may get trapped. You may also have an application of antibiotics performed on your gums to help resolve the infection.


After your scaling and root planing therapy, you may have increased tooth and gum sensitivity, as well as some tingling from the local anesthetic. Dr. Boulard can also prescribe antibiotics that will help eliminate any remaining bacteria from the gums. You should follow a good oral hygiene regimen in your home, such as proper flossing and brushing, to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Having annual dental examinations and cleanings with Dr. Boulard will be vital to your success after scaling and root planing. This way, Dr. Boulard can assess the health of your teeth and gums regularly. Depending upon the initial condition of your gums and your home care after scaling and root planing therapy, you might need more scaling and root planing treatments to heal your gums.


Is scaling and root planing painful?

No, the scaling and root planing procedure isn’t painful. Dr. Kevin Boulard will apply a topical anesthetic to the target area to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. Afterward, your gums may feel a little sore or irritated as they heal, but it is usually brief.

How long will it take for my gums to heal after scaling and root planing?

After your scaling and root planing procedure is finished, some discomfort and irritation are natural, and you might feel a little more sensitivity to hot and cold. The discomfort usually goes away after 3 – 5 days, but you may notice increased sensitivity for up to a month.

How long does scaling and root planing take?

How much scaling and root planing you’ll need depends on your oral health. You may only need one visit, but Dr. Boulard may schedule you for up to four visits to ensure the best possible outcome.

How often should you do root planing?

If your gums and teeth are healthy, you’ll only need a regular dental checkup and cleaning two times a year. If you have periodontitis, Dr. Boulard could recommend scaling and root planing twice a year or more, depending on the severity of your condition.

Do I need scaling and root planing?

Dr. Boulard can accurately assess your dental health during a regular checkup, but here are a few signs of gum disease:

  • Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
  • Tender, puffy or red gums
  • A receding gumline
  • Your teeth feel loose or like they’re “shifting”
  • A bad taste in your mouth or frequent bad breath


Gum disease may become painful and dangerous to your health, so if you’re having symptoms, please schedule an exam with Dr. Boulard at his office in Merrimack, NH. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is usually corrected with a very simple scaling and root planing treatment at Something To Smile About. Please contact us to schedule an appointment or to receive more information.