National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)

Resources and tools for dental professionals seeking to complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.
The NBDHE at a glance

Here’s a quick overview of what to expect and when the examination is available.

Info graphic for NBDHE that reads, "Accepted at All U.S. licensing jurisdictions recognize the NBDHE , Available Year round, Offered Pearson Vue Test Centers in the U.S. and Canada, Test Time 9 hours".

About the NBDHE

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination assists dental boards in evaluating qualifications of dental hygienists for licensure. The examination will assess each candidate’s ability to understand important information from basic biomedical and dental hygiene sciences and apply this information in a problem-solving context.

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) is the governing body for the NBDHE, working in collaboration with the Department of Testing Services (DTS). Candidates will take the examination at test centers operated by Pearson VUE, an official vendor of the JCNDE and the DTS.

The NBDHE is intended to fulfill or partially fulfill the written examination requirement for licensure in all states. Please refer to each state board’s website for specific details, clarifications, and updated policies.

Learn more about the NBDHE in the Candidate Guide below.

Recent and Forthcoming Updates

Please download and check Recent and Forthcoming Updates to Examinations and Tests (PDF) often as you prepare for your  examination.
Join the JCNDE Annual State Dental Board Forum virtually on August 19, 2024; 12-1:30 PM CST. 
Find detailed information on all aspects of the examination. 
Get ready for the NBDHE with tutorials, practice tests, checklists and more.
Take the first step in scheduling your examination.
View your NBDHE exam results, review scoring information or request an audit.

More NBDHE information and resources

Registration is required for the virtual JCNDE Annual State Dental Board Forum

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) will hold its annual forum for boards of dentistry and dental hygiene on August 19, 2024 from 12-1:30 PM CST. Registration for the virtual meeting is open now and you must register to attend. The purpose of the forum is to facilitate open communication and share information about the JCNDE’s National Board Examinations.

Register now


Create or manage your DENTPIN®

To take your examination, you will need a unique personal identification number (DENTPIN). If you have already registered for or taken another dental exam, you may already have a DENTPIN. Sign in here to create a new DENTPIN, or to modify the information linked to your existing DENTPIN.

Is this examination offered in Quebec Canada?

No. This examination is no longer offered in the providence of Quebec Canada. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Steps to take before scheduling your exam

You will take the NBDHE at a testing center operated by Pearson VUE. Before scheduling your test appointment, you must:

  • Review the NBDHE Candidate Guide, with special focus on eligibility requirements, rules of conduct, examination fees and regulations, and the testing center procedures.
  • View the guide (PDF) 

  • Submit an application to the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE). Your eligibility must be determined by your dental hygiene program director or you must submit proof of graduation from an accredited education program.
  • Apply here

  • Receive an eligibility email from the JCNDE confirming that you are ready to schedule your exam.
  • Create a Pearson VUE web account (first-time test-takers only).
  • Create your account

Scheduling or rescheduling your test date

Once you have received a confirmation email from JCNDE, you’re ready to choose your test date. Review current COVID-19 test center procedures on the Pearson VUE website.

Select a date and time by contacting Pearson VUE directly. Your appointment should be scheduled 60 to 90 days before your desired test date.

Select your test date 

If you need to reschedule a test date, contact Pearson VUE at least 24 hours prior to your appointment. A rescheduling fee of $25 will apply, regardless of the reason for your request. Note that leaving a message for the local test center is not sufficient, since they cannot schedule, reschedule or cancel your appointment. Email Pearson VUE directly using this link or call 888.456.2830.

Email to reschedule your test 

EMERGENCY CANCELLATIONS: If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment due to sudden illness or death in your immediate family, contact the Department of Testing Services by emailing or calling 800.232.1694.

Concerns about test day issues or conditions

After taking the examination, if you have concerns about scheduling issues, exam conditions or any unresolved problems, inform the Pearson VUE test administrator before leaving the test center.

Get your NBDHE results 

Your examination results are available three to four weeks after taking the exam. All NBDHE results are audited for accuracy before being posted. To get your results, sign in with your DENTPIN and password below.

Sign in to view results

Request an audit 

All NBDHE results are audited for accuracy before being posted. To request an audit of your results, sign in with your DENTPIN and password.

Request audit

Here is additional information about dispute resolution for NBDHE test takers (PDF).

Get your National Board certificate 

If you have completed the NBDHE and would like to purchase an official National Board certificate, log in with your DENTPIN and password.

Purchase certificate

How NBDHE test questions are developed

The JCDNE publishes an Examination Item Development Guide for those who wish to augment the quality and quantity of new exam items in our item bank. The use of these guidelines should increase the chances that submitted items will be accepted. The guide’s purpose is to:

  • Inform dental and academic communities of interest about the item development process for National Board Dental and Dental Hygiene Examinations
  • Encourage participation in our item development and review activities
  • To broaden our base of item writers, item reviewers, and future examination constructors
  • To replenish our item pool with current knowledge in a variety of item formats

View the Item Development Guide (PDF)

Below is a list of reference texts used in creating NBDHE examinations. It may provide a helpful overview for test-takers and others interested in NBDHE content and methodology.

View reference texts (PDF)

Notes on recent NBDHE failure rates

Candidates who took the NBDHE in 2020 and 2021 have reached out to DTS expressing concern that the short-form NBDHE offered during the pandemic might be yielding higher failure rates than expected. DTS has conducted psychometric investigations correspondingly, permitting DTS to meaningfully compare the performance of the standard and short forms. These investigations have found no meaningful differences between these sets of forms. To clarify, the DTS analyses show that candidates who attempted the NBDHE later in 2020 have been more likely to fail, regardless of whether they attempted the full-length examination or the shortened form.

DTS suspects that elevated failure rates toward the end of 2020 are the result of candidates who were further removed from their academic studies and corresponding clinical experiences, and have performed less well on the examination as a result.

Volunteer as a test constructor. Lend your talents to future applicants.
Volunteer as a test constructor

Lend your talents to future applicants. The Department of Testing Services needs volunteer subject matter experts to assist with test construction. Volunteers may also earn CE credit.