This review of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic shows that HIV has had and will have a major impact on dentistry, just as it has had on so many other aspects of medical practice and society. These areas include the prevention of HIV transmission in the dental care workplace, the early and safe care and treatment of those who are infected, and the protection of those who are vulnerable or made more vulnerable because of HIV infection. To do this, the dental professional must be educated about HIV and its diseases, their treatment, and what must be done to prevent HIV transmission. Early recognition and treatment of HIV-related oral diseases have become the norms of practice today. Although more and more dentists face potential exposure to HIV, excellent dental care can be provided while minimizing this risk.