Abstract Stem cells can self-renew and produce different cell types, thus providing new strategies to regenerate missing tissues and treat diseases. In the field of dentistry, adult mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have been identified in several oral and maxillofacial tissues, which suggests that the oral tissues are a rich source of stem cells, and oral stem and mucosal cells are expected to provide an ideal source for genetically reprogrammed cells such as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Furthermore, oral tissues are expected to be not only a source but also a therapeutic target for stem cells, as stem cell and tissue engineering therapies in dentistry continue to attract increasing clinical interest. Part I of this review outlines various types of intra- and extra-oral tissue-derived stem cells with regard to clinical availability and applications in dentistry. Additionally, appropriate sources of stem cells for regenerative dentistry are discussed with regard to differentiation capacity, accessibility and possible immunomodulatory properties. Keywords Dental stem cells; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Regenerative dentistry; Stem cell sources.