BACKGROUND: Consideration of the biologic width in restorative dentistry seems to be important for maintaining periodontal health. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the dimensions of the biologic width in humans. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed for publications published by 28 September 2012 using five different electronic databases; this search was complemented by a manual search. Two reviewers conducted the study selection, data collection, and validity assessment. The PRISMA criteria were applied. From 615 titles identified by the search strategy, 14 publications were included and six were suitable for meta-analyses. RESULTS: Included studies were published from the years 1924 to 2012. They differed with regard to measurements of the biologic width. Mean values of the biologic width obtained from two meta-analyses ranged from 2.15 to 2.30 mm, but large intra- and inter-individual variances (subject sample range: 0.2 - 6.73 mm) were observed. The tooth type and site, the presence of a restoration and periodontal diseases/surgery affected the dimensions of the biologic width. Pronounced heterogeneity among studies regarding methods and outcome measures exists. CONCLUSIONS: No universal dimension of the biologic width appears to exist. Establishment of periodontal health is suggested prior to the assessment of the biologic width within reconstructive dentistry.