The inflammatory response adjacent to implants has not been well-investigated and may influence peri-implant tissue levels. The purpose of this study was to assess, histomorphometrically, (1) the timing of abutment connection and (2) the influence of a microgap. Three implant designs were placed in the mandibles of dogs. Two-piece implants were placed at the alveolar crest and abutments connected either at initial surgery (non-submerged) or three months later (submerged). The third implant was one-piece. Adjacent interstitial tissues were analyzed. Both two-piece implants resulted in a peak of inflammatory cells approximately 0.50 mm coronal to the microgap and consisted primarily of neutrophilic polymorphonuclear leukocytes. For one-piece implants, no such peak was observed. Also, significantly greater bone loss was observed for both two-piece implants compared with one-piece implants. In summary, the absence of an implant-abutment interface (microgap) at the bone crest was associated with reduced peri-implant inflammatory cell accumulation and minimal bone loss.