The field of clinical implant research has been flourishing in recent years. The number of related publications has been on the rise, as has the number of dental journals. However, the information gathered from surveillance studies on the quality of reporting and methodologic quality of published studies is unsettling. An important challenge faced by researchers endeavoring to conduct implant studies is how to factor the differences between implant surfaces and dental surfaces in the study design. Given the considerable experience that has been gained in the research methodology of the study of teeth and periodontal tissues, clinical implant research studies have often been conducted without giving much consideration to the fundamental differences between implants and teeth. This article discusses study design related to implant research in view of these differences. Observational and interventional study design methodology is discussed, and guidelines are provided to inform researchers on how to minimize bias in the design and implementation of these clinical studies when implant-related outcomes are studied.
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