This review discusses and summarizes the recent developments and advances in the use of biodegradable materials for bone repair purposes. The choice between using degradable and non-degradable devices for orthopedic and maxillofacial applications must be carefully weighed. Traditional biodegradable devices for osteosynthesis have been successful in low or mild load bearing applications. However, continuing research and recent developments in the field of material science has resulted in development of biomaterials with improved strength and mechanical properties. For this purpose, biodegradable materials, including polymers, ceramics and magnesium alloys have attracted much attention for osteologic repair and applications. The next generation of biodegradable materials would benefit from recent knowledge gained regarding cell material interactions, with better control of interfacing between the material and the surrounding bone tissue. The next generations of biodegradable materials for bone repair and regeneration applications require better control of interfacing between the material and the surrounding bone tissue. Also, the mechanical properties and degradation/resorption profiles of these materials require further improvement to broaden their use and achieve better clinical results.