Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease which manifests clinically as loss of supporting periodontal tissues including periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. For decades periodontists have sought ways to repair the damage which occurs during periodontitis. This has included the use of a range of surgical procedures, the use of a variety of grafting materials and growth factors, and the use of barrier membranes. To date periodontal regeneration is considered to be biologically possible but clinically unpredictable. Recently, reports have begun to emerge demonstrating that populations of adult stem cells reside in the periodontal ligament of humans and other animals. This opens the way for new cell-based therapies for periodontal regeneration. For this to become a reality a thorough understanding of adult human stem cells is needed. This review provides an overview of adult human stem cells and their potential use in periodontal regeneration.