The natural oxide layer on implantable alloys insulates the reactive underlying metal from the physiological environment, preventing substrate corrosion and device failure. This type of oxide film has had a major role in the minimization of functional failure and toxic response after implantation in the first generation biomaterials. Recent advances in theoretical, computational, and experimental surface engineering tools provide the foundation for the design of novel devices with improved performances in this regard based on conventional implantable metal alloys. An increasing number of technologies provide the possibility of tailoring chemico-physical and morphological parameters of the surface oxide layers. For some applications, such as dental implants, surface modifications result in substantial innovation and economic success. However, the selection of novel surfaces is in general based on experimental studies and has a limited theoretical and computational foundation. In this review, we offer a perspective analysis of the correlation between theoretical studies and chemical surface modification technologies, with a special emphasis on titanium oxide on Ti alloys. Theoretical approaches for the surface behavior at an atomistic level of description are presented, together with some adsorption studies on a rutile surface. The role of chemical and electrochemical surface modification technologies in modifying the TiO(2) structure, morphology, and chemistry to tailor in vivo biological response is then briefly reviewed. Finally, we discuss the role of surface modeling as a powerful design tool for a new generation of implantable devices in which metal oxide surface can be tuned to yield specific biological response.