PURPOSE: Zirconia ceramics, a biocompatible material with favorable mechanical properties, has been suggested for use in the manufacture of dental implants instead of the commonly used titanium. Not much data exist on the early healing response around zirconia dental implants. The aim of this study was to give a descriptive histologic assessment of the degree of early bone apposition around zirconia dental implants at 2 and 4 weeks after insertion compared to surface-modified titanium implants. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Four zirconia and 4 titanium implants were placed in New Zealand white male rabbits. One implant was inserted in the condyle of each distal femur. Specimens were harvested at 2 and 4 weeks and processed with light microscopic analysis. The area of bone-implant contact was evaluated histomorphometrically. RESULTS: A high degree of bone apposition could be observed on all implants at both time points. Differences in the percentage of implant surface covered with bone were noted between the 2 time points, with comparable results for the 2 materials. CONCLUSION: The results of this limited histologic study demonstrate a similar rate of bone apposition on zirconia and surface-modified titanium implant surfaces during early healing. To confirm these results, further studies need to be conducted, involving larger sample size at more time points.