NBDHE Practice Test

The National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE) certification has 350 questions in a multiple-choice format.

There are two separate components to the test. The first section is comprised of basic knowledge areas within the context of Dental Hygiene Practice and Services. There are 200 questions covering three content areas:

  • Scientific Basis for Dental Hygiene Practice
  • Provision of Clinical Dental Hygiene Services
  • Community Health/Research Principles

An additional 150 multiple-choice questions are presented in the second component of the test. This second set of questions, however, is based on case studies of between 12 and 15 individual samples. The dental hygiene examinee must answer this second set of questions based on the conditions presented in the case study samples.

The case studies used for this part of the test provide a wide demographic sampling of patients presenting different problems and challenges for the dental hygienist. Specific patient types that may be encountered among these case studies include children; the elderly; individuals with compromised immune systems or other medical problems; individuals with periodontal disease; and individuals with special needs.

Case-based challenges pose questions in the area of assessment, planning for future care, periodontal techniques, preventive measures and agents, and care management. Medical histories, x-rays, photographs and dental charts are used to present the problems in this portion of the test, and the challenges posed must be addressed correctly by the hygienist seeking this certification.

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination is given three times a year, in the months of March, July, and December. Application deadlines may vary from one to two months for registration, so it is necessary to check the deadline for each regularly-scheduled examination date. Registration can be conducted online or by mail.

A passing score on the NBDHE examination is 75. That number is a scaled score, converted from a raw score determined by the number of questions answered correctly. The minimum scaled score is 49, and the maximum scaled score is 99. Results are mailed within six to eight weeks after the completion of the examination. Those who fail to receive an acceptable passing score of 75 may take the test again, but three failures on the test set a precondition of a one-year wait before the individual can take the test again.