Clean, intrinsically high-surface-energy dental implants are both safe and effective, but ambiguity remains with regard to the true surface qualities of many implant materials that have been sterilized and are about to be placed in properly instrumented host sites. Future dental implant requirements should include proper surface preparation and surface quality maintenance of the implants themselves. Recommended directions for research on dental implant materials include greater use of surface analytical techniques to identify, understand, and ultimately control common surface contaminants. Regulatory agencies should require specific reporting of critical surface parameters for all dental implant materials in their final, sterile states, including any changes from desirable initial values. Different implants demand different degrees of interaction with adjacent biological phases, for example, to promote or inhibit bioadhesion, and different surface preparations can assure these results.