Bisphosphonates are used in the treatment of hypercalcemia of malignancy, skeletal complications associated with metastastic bone disease, Paget's disease, and osteoporosis. Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a recently described clinical condition that has been associated with the use of nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates. Reports describing this entity first appeared in the literature in 2003. While there have been significant numbers of case reports and a limited number of retrospective and prospective studies examining risk factors associated with ONJ, the pathophysiology of this condition remains elusive. In this review, we explore proposed mechanisms underlying ONJ development and identify potential areas for future investigation.