The inflammatory oral diseases are characterized by the persistent migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes, monocytes, lymphocytes, plasma and mast cells, and osteoblasts and osteoclasts. In the last decade, there has been a great interest in the mediators responsible for the selective recruitment and activation of these cell types at inflammatory sites. Of these mediators, the chemokines have received particular attention in recent years. Chemokine messages are decoded by specific receptors that initiate signal transduction events, leading to a multitude of cellular responses, including chemotaxis and activation of inflammatory and bone cells. However, little is known about their role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory oral diseases. The purpose of this review is to summarize the findings regarding the role of chemokines in periapical and periodontal tissue inflammation, and the integration, into experimental models, of the information about the role of chemokines in human diseases.