Involvement of the cervical lymph nodes is the most important prognostic factor for patients with oral/oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and the decision whether to electively treat patients with clinically negative necks remains a controversial topic. Sentinel node biopsy (SNB) provides a minimally invasive method of determining the disease status of the cervical node basin, without the need for a formal neck dissection. This technique potentially improves the accuracy of histological nodal staging and avoids over-treating three-quarters of this patient population, minimizing associated morbidity. The technique has been validated for patients with OSCC, and larger-scale studies are in progress to determine its exact role in the management of this patient population. This article was designed to outline the current best practice guidelines for the provision of SNB in patients with early-stage OSCC, and to provide a framework for the currently evolving recommendations for its use. These guidelines were prepared by a multidisciplinary surgical/nuclear medicine/pathology expert panel under the joint auspices of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) Oncology Committee and the Sentinel European Node Trial Committee.