Purpose The purpose of the present study was to validate an experimental model for assessing tissue integration of titanium and zirconia implants with and without buccal dehiscence defects. Methods In 3 dogs, 5 implants were randomly placed on both sides of the mandibles: 1) Z1: a zirconia implant (modified surface) within the bony housing, 2) Z2: a zirconia implant (standard surface) within the bony housing, 3) T: a titanium implant within the bony housing, 4) Z1_D: a Z1 implant placed with a buccal bone dehiscence defect (3 mm), and 5) T_D: a titanium implant placed with a buccal bone dehiscence defect (3 mm). The healing times were 2 weeks (one side of the mandible) and 6 weeks (the opposite side). Results The dimensions of the peri-implant soft tissue varied depending on the implant and the healing time. The level of the mucosal margin was located more apically at 6 weeks than at 2 weeks in all groups, except group T. The presence of a buccal dehiscence defect did not result in a decrease in the overall soft tissue dimensions between 2 and 6 weeks (4.80±1.31 and 4.3 mm in group Z1_D, and 4.47±1.06 and 4.5±1.37 mm in group T_D, respectively). The bone-to-implant contact (BIC) values were highest in group Z1 at both time points (34.15%±21.23% at 2 weeks, 84.08%±1.33% at 6 weeks). The buccal dehiscence defects in groups Z1_D and T_D showed no further bone loss at 6 weeks compared to 2 weeks. Conclusions The modified surface of Z1 demonstrated higher BIC values than the surface of Z2. There were minimal differences in the mucosal margin between 2 and 6 weeks in the presence of a dehiscence defect. The present model can serve as a useful tool for studying peri-implant dehiscence defects at the hard and soft tissue levels.