This study evaluated clinical outcomes following intraoperative use of adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in various oral reconstructive procedures. PubMed was searched without language restrictions from 2000 to 2011 using the search words stem cell, oral surgery, tissue engineering, sinus lift, bone regeneration and combinations of these. Inclusion criteria were intraoperative use of MSCs in the study design. Reference lists of the articles found were searched for other related studies. Eighteen clinical trials using MSCs for sinus augmentation were found: five case reports on the repair of large bony defects and six studies on ridge augmentation and healing of alveolar sockets after third molar extraction. The findings suggest that MSCs are capable of producingin vivobone, re-establishing lost tissue and facilitating placement of dental implants. Use of MSCs would reduce patient morbidity because of a less stressful harvesting technique than that of autogenous bone. The majority of clinical trials indicate that MSCs can produce bonein vivo. However, a satisfactory outcome was not seen in all studies, and due to the diversity of study designs, a ‘golden approach’ cannot be determined. Before use of MSCs can be considered as a first-choice treatment, more predictable outcomes and better long-term prognoses need to be established. Conventional bone grafting remains the gold standard.