Medicine, particularly with respect to diagnostic decision-making, has seen remarkable advances in the last ten years. The art of diagnosis has become much more of a science. Basic science advances have moved from the laboratory into the hospital and radically changed the way a medical diagnosis is arrived at or confirmed. Dentistry, especially oral diagnosis, as yet has not been a significant part of this general medical advance. However, several examples demonstrate that this situation is starting to change. Oral conditions are beginning to be evaluated with greater precision and sophistication. This report reviews some recent advances in oral diagnostic research and suggests where they will carry dentistry over the next 25 years.