NBDHE Practice Test

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The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) is an exam required by state licensing agencies for those who are seeking to be a licensed dental hygienist in that state.

Click “Start Test” above to take a free NBDHE practice test, and check out our premium-quality NBDHE test prep resources by clicking the links below!

NBDHE Eligibility

To be eligible for the exam, you must meet ONE of the following requirements:

  • You must be a dental hygiene student in a program accredited by CODA and must be prepared in all NBDHE disciplines
  • You must have graduated from a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program
  • You must have graduated from a non-accredited dental hygiene program with a letter of recommendation from an accredited dean/director and from the secretary of a board of dentistry

NBDHE Outline

The NBDHE exam contains 350 multiple-choice questions and has a total time limit of 7.5 hours.

The exam is split into two sessions. The first session contains 200 discipline-based questions, while the second session contains 150 questions related to patient cases.

testing day schedule for the NBDHE exam

Session One

The discipline-based questions in this session fall under the following areas:

Scientific Basis for Dental Hygiene Practice (61 questions)
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and biochemistry
  • Microbiology and immunology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
Provision of Clinical Dental Hygiene Services (115 questions)
  • Assessing patient characteristics
  • Obtaining and interpreting radiographs
  • Planning and managing dental hygiene care
  • Performing periodontal procedures
  • Using preventive agents
  • Providing supportive treatment services
  • Professional responsibility
Community Health/Research Principles (24 questions)
  • Promoting health and preventing disease within groups
  • Participating in community programs
  • Analyzing scientific literature
  • Understanding statistical data

Session Two

The case-based questions in this session pertain to 14 to 16 given dental hygiene patient cases. The questions are designed to assess your knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  • Assessing patient characteristics
  • Obtaining and interpreting radiographs
  • Planning and managing dental hygiene care
  • Performing periodontal procedures
  • Using preventive agents
  • Providing supportive treatment service
  • Professional responsibility

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NBDHE Registration

To register for the NBDHE, you must create a DENTPIN and submit an application to the JCNDE. Your application must include the nonrefundable $565 examination fee.

Once your application is approved, you will receive an email from the JCNDE confirming your eligibility and providing information about scheduling an examination appointment.

Test Day

On test day, you should arrive at the Pearson VUE testing center 15-30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time to allow time for the check-in process. When you arrive, you must sign in and present your photo ID to the proctor. You will be photographed and asked to sign a roster and other rule forms.

Personal items are not allowed in the testing room, so they should be left at home or in your car. This includes all electrical devices, bags, books, keys, wallets, and accessories.

Just before the exam starts, you will be given a brief tutorial on the testing system. You will also be given everything you need to work out any calculations by hand (no calculator will be provided).

How the NBDHE is Scored

Your NBDHE score is determined based on a scaled scoring system, in which your raw score (the number of questions you answered correctly) is converted to a scaled score on a range of 49 to 99. To pass, you will need to score a minimum of 75.

You should receive a score report within 4 weeks of your original testing date.

Retaking the NBDHE

If you did not pass the exam, you must wait at least 60 days before applying for retesting. You may take the exam up to four times in one year, after which the waiting period between retakes increases to 12 months.

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How many questions are on the NBDHE exam?


There are 350 multiple-choice questions on the exam.


How long is the NBDHE exam?


The time limit for the exam is 7.5 hours.


What is the passing score for the NBDHE exam?


To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 75.


How much does the NBDHE exam cost?


The examination fee is $565.

By Peter Rench

Peter Rench joined Mometrix in 2009 and serves as Vice President of Product Development, responsible for overseeing all new product development and quality improvements. Mr. Rench, a National Merit Scholar, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in mathematics from Texas A&M University.


by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: March 29, 2024