The macroscopic and especially microscopic properties of implant surfaces play a major role in the osseous healing of dental implants. The aim of this study was to perform a histologic and histomorphometric comparison of the healing characteristics of anodically modified, machined and hydroxyapatite (HA)-coated implant types. A total of 24 machined surface implants (MSI), 24 HA-coated implants (HCI) and 24 anodized titanium surface implants (ASI) were inserted into the mandibles of 12 adult mini-pigs after extracting all mandibular premolars. Four animals each were killed after covered healing for 3, 6 and 12 weeks. Undecalcified ground sections were subjected to histologic and histomorphometric examinations. Primary effects and interactions were statistically evaluated and least square means (Tukey test) were compared. Histologic evaluations showed broad-based bone apposition to HA-coated and anodically roughened surfaces as well as narrow bone contacts to the machined surface. Localized resorption was only observed with the HA-coated implants. Overall, histomorphometric evaluation of bone-to-implant contact percentages for all observation periods showed significant differences between MSI (19.39% +/- 4.53) and HCI (39.05% +/- 4.53; P = 0.0092) and between MSI and ASI (42.72% +/- 4.20; P = 0.0011). In conclusion, the results of this study show that an anodically roughened implant may provide a similar rate of bone-to-implant contact as a HA-coated implant. In the presence of bone quality II to IV, according to Lekholm & Zarb (1985, in: Tissue-Integrated Prostheses: Osseointegration in Clinical Dentistry. Chicago: Quintessence Publishing), this may be of particular benefit, possibly because of higher stability, in maintaining pre-implantation functional strength after implant healing.