PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the critical diabetes duration in a streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rat calvarial defect model for experimentation regarding bone regeneration by evaluating the association between diabetes duration and bone healing capacity through histological and radiographic analyses. METHODS: Experimental diabetes was induced in 50 of 60 rats by an STZ injection. The rats were divided into 5 groups, including a control group (group 1), according to diabetes durations of 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks, respectively. Eighteen rats survived: 4 in group 1, 4 in group 2, 4 in group 3, 5 in group 4, and 1 in group 5. Calvarial defects were created at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after STZ injection in groups 1–5. Cone-beam computed tomography scanning was performed at baseline and at 5 and 7 weeks after surgery. The rats were sacrificed 7 weeks after surgery, followed by histological evaluation. RESULTS: The voxel gray values (VGVs) of group 1 and group 2 increased, whereas the VGVs of group 3 and group 4 decreased starting 5 weeks after surgery, although this trend did not reach statistical significance between groups. On the reconstructed 3-dimensional images and based on an analysis of histological features, groups 1 and 2 showed apparent bone regeneration, while groups 3–5 showed very limited bone regeneration. CONCLUSIONS: The critical diabetes duration in an STZ-induced diabetic rat calvarial defect model for experimentation regarding bone regeneration was between 2 and 4 weeks. It is suggested that researchers who use STZ-induced diabetic rats wait for more than 2 weeks following diabetes induction before placing implants or conducting bone regeneration studies to allow definite disturbances in bone healing to emerge.