The oral mucosa's accessibility, excellent blood supply, by-pass of hepatic first-pass metabolism, rapid repair and permeability profile make it an attractive site for local and systemic drug delivery. Technological advances in mucoadhesives, sustained drug release, permeability enhancers and drug delivery vectors are increasing the efficient delivery of drugs to treat oral and systemic diseases. When treating oral diseases, these advances result in enhanced therapeutic efficacy, reduced drug wastage and the prospect of using biological agents such as genes, peptides and antibodies. These technologies are also increasing the repertoire of drugs that can be delivered across the oral mucosa to treat systemic diseases. Trans-mucosal delivery is now a favoured route for non-parenteral administration of emergency drugs and agents where a rapid onset of action is required. Furthermore, advances in drug delivery technology are bringing forward the likelihood of transmucosal systemic delivery of biological agents.