BACKGROUND: It has been shown that different implant designs and different vertical implant positions have an influence on crestal bone levels. The aim of the present study was to evaluate radiographic crestal bone changes around experimental dental implants with non-matching implant-abutment diameters placed submucosally or transmucosally at three different levels relative to the alveolar crest. METHODS: Sixty two-piece dental implants with non-matching implant-abutment diameters were placed in edentulous spaces bilaterally in five foxhounds. The implants were placed submucosally or transmucosally in the left or the right side of the mandible. Within each side, six implants were randomly placed at three distinct levels relative to the alveolar crest. After 12 weeks, 60 crowns were cemented. Radiographs were obtained from all implant sites following implant placement, after crown insertion, and monthly for 6 months after loading. RESULTS: Radiographic analysis revealed very little bone loss and a slight increase in bone level for implants placed at the level of the crest or 1 mm above. The greatest bone loss occurred at implants placed 1 mm below the bone crest. No clinically significant differences regarding marginal bone loss and the level of the bone-to-implant contact were detected between implants with a submucosal or a transmucosal healing. CONCLUSIONS: Implants with non-matching implant-abutment diameters demonstrated some bone loss; however, it was a small amount. There was no clinically significant difference between submucosal and transmucosal approaches.