Periodontitis, an inflammatory disease, is caused by biofilms with a mixed microbial etiology and involves the progressive destruction of the tooth-supporting tissues. A rising number of studies investigate the clinical potential of photodynamic therapy (PDT) as an adjunct during active therapy. The aim of the present review was to evaluate the available literature for the in vitro antimicrobial efficacy of photodynamic therapy focusing on the periodontopathogenic bacteria Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum. The focused question was: "Is it possible to decrease (at least 3 log steps or 99.9%) or even eliminate bacterial growth by photodynamic therapy in vitro when compared to untreated control groups or control groups treated by placebo?" In general, PDT resulted in a substantial reduction of surviving bacteria. However, not all studies showed the desired reduction or elimination. The ranges of log10-reduction were 0.38 (58%) to a complete eradication (100%) for P. gingivalis, 0.21 (39%) to 100% for A. actinomycetemcomitans and 0.3 (50%) to 100% for F. nucleatum. In conclusion, further and particularly more comparable studies are needed to evaluate if PDT can be clinically successful as an adjuvant in periodontal therapy.