Teeth arise from sequential and reciprocal interactions between the oral epithelium and the underlying cranial neural crest-derived mesenchyme. Their formation involves a precisely orchestrated series of molecular and morphogenetic events, and gives us the opportunity to discover and understand the nature of the signals that direct cell fates and patterning. For that reason, it is important to elucidate how signaling factors work together in a defined number of cells to generate the diverse and precise patterned structures of the mature functional teeth. Over the last decade, substantial research efforts have been directed toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms that control cell fate decisions during tooth development. These efforts have contributed toward the increased knowledge on dental stem cells, and observation of the molecular similarities that exist between tooth development and regeneration.