Dental adhesives are designed to bond composite resins to enamel and dentin. Their chemical formulation determines to a large extent their adhesive performance in clinic. Irrespective of the number of bottles, an adhesive system typically contains resin monomers, curing initiators, inhibitors or stabilizers, solvents and sometimes inorganic filler. Each one of these components has a specific function. The aim of this article is to systematically review the ingredients commonly used in current dental adhesives as well as the properties of these ingredients. This paper includes an extensive table with the chemical formulation of contemporary dental adhesives.