Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is the major cause of low back pain, which usually leads to work absenteeism, medical visits and hospitalization. Because the current conservative procedures and surgical approaches to treatment of DDD only aim to relieve the symptoms of disease but not to regenerate the diseased disc, their long-term efficiency is limited. With the rapid developments in medical science, tissue engineering techniques have progressed markedly in recent years, providing a novel regenerative strategy for managing intervertebral disc disease. However, there are as yet no ideal methods for constructing tissue-engineered intervertebral discs. This paper reviews published reports pertaining to intervertebral disc tissue engineering and summarizes data concerning the seed cells and scaffold materials for tissue-engineered intervertebral discs, construction of tissue-engineered whole intervertebral discs, relevant animal experiments and effects of mechanics on the construction of tissue-engineered intervertebral disc and outlines the existing problems and future directions. Although the perfect regenerative strategy for treating DDD has not yet been developed, great progress has been achieved in the construction of tissue-engineered intervertebral discs. It is believed that ongoing research on intervertebral disc tissue engineering will result in revolutionary progress in the treatment of DDD.