Surgical wound dressings have been employed over several centuries for the purpose of protection of surgical sites, to prevent postoperative infection and to accelerate healing. Periodontal dressings, also known as periodontal packs, provide similar benefits when applied after periodontal surgical procedures. They can broadly be categorized as eugenolbased dressings and noneugenol dressings. Over the years, many modifications have been made to the composition of such dressings to improve their physical and therapeutic properties. Controversies surrounding the rationale for their use, advantages and disadvantages of the most commonly employed periodontal dressings and their current status in clinical practice are described in this comprehensive review. From the evidence-based literature presented here, we have also attempted to answer the question of whether there is a universal need for the application of periodontal dressings.