Dental practitioners are exposed to an increasing number of dental materials, which claim the benefits of fluoride release. The purpose of this paper is to critically review the literature of these materials. Glass ionomers, resin modified glass ionomers, compomers, resin composites, fissure sealants and amalgam are discussed. It is clear that a long-term measurable release of fluoride can be observed from certain restorative materials, in vitro, particularly glass ionomer cement, resin modified glass ionomer cement, fluoridated cements, fluoridated dental amalgam and certain fissure sealants. In general, the rate of fluoride release is not constant but exhibits a relatively rapid initial rate, which decreases with time. However, the fluoride release profiles may be dependent on specific formulation and on experimental design and sampling methods. These materials may feature greater longevity, a reduced incidence of marginal failure, an elevated concentration of fluoride in contingent plaque, together with an antibacterial action when compared with non-fluoride releasing materials. In addition, fluoride-releasing materials may perform better in caries inhibition in artificial caries model studies than non-fluoridated materials. While any, or all, of these anti-cariogenic effects may be associated with fluoride release, a direct relationship between fluoride release profiles and such effects has not been determined in vivo.