In the early stages of gum disease all that may be needed is a scaling and root planing procedure. This involves removing plaque and tartar in the deeper pockets around the teeth and smoothing the root surfaces. However, a case may have progressed to the point that surgical treatment is required by a periodontist. With modern techniques and medications, patients should feel no discomfort during these procedures. After surgery, the affected area may be tender or sore. The periodontist will make sure you have medication to relieve this discomfort. Many patients go back to their normal routine in only a few hours!