As in any dental treatment procedure, a thorough patient assessment is a prerequisite for adequate treatment planning including dental implants. The literature was searched for references to patient assessment in implant treatment up to September 2007 in Medline via PubMed and an additional handsearch was performed. Patient assessment included the following aspects: (1) evaluation of patient's history, his/her complaints, desires and preferences; (2) extra-and intra-oral examination with periodontal and restorative status of the remaining dentition; (3) obligatory prerequisites were a panoramic radiograph and periapical radiographs (at least from the adjacent teeth) for diagnosis and treatment planning. Additional tomographs are required depending on the anatomic situation and the complexity of the planned restoration; (4) study casts are needed especially in more complex situations also requiring a diagnostic set-up, which can be tried-in and transferred into a provisional restoration as well as into a radiographic and surgical template. The current review clearly revealed the necessity for a thorough, structured patient assessment. Following an evaluation, a recommendation is given for implant therapy or, if not indicated, conventional treatment alternatives can be presented.