National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE®)
Important Note to Candidates Testing in Quebec
Here’s a quick overview of what to expect and when the examination is available.
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.
More NBDHE information and resources
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800.232.1694.
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, use your DENTPIN and password to log in here.
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
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.
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.
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.