NBDHE Dental Hygiene Board Exam Question Bank

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“I was impressed with BoardVitals... These are great questions for the Dental Hygiene exam, and the interface was easy enough. Good luck as you grow your qbank.”

Registered Dental Hygienist

gold key Key Board Review Features


NBDHE Board Review Topics Covered:

  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Anatomic Sciences
  • Biochemistry and Nutrition
  • Assessing Patient Characteristics
  • Obtaining and Interpreting Radiographs
  • Managing Dental Hygiene Care
  • Performing Periodontal Procedures
  • Using Preventive Agents
  • Providing Supportive Treatment
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Health and Disease Prevention Within Groups
  • Community Programs
  • Analysis and Research
  • Managing Dental Hygiene Care - Cases
  • Assessing Patient Characteristics - Cases
  • Community Programs - Testlets
  • Analysis and Research - Testlets
  • Health and Disease Prevention Within Groups - Testlets
  • Performing Periodontal Procedures - Cases

About the NBDHE Exam

As outlined by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE), the NBDHE assesses the ability to understand important information from basic biomedical, dental and dental hygiene sciences, and the ability to apply such information in a problem-solving context.

What areas are tested on the NBDHE?

As outlined in the JCNDE Technical Report for the NBDHE, the following areas are tested:

I. Scientific Basis for Dental Hygiene Practice

  • Anatomic Sciences
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry/Nurtrition
  • Microbiology/Immunology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology

II. Provision of Clinical DH Services

  • Assessing Patient Characteristics
  • Obtaining & Interpreting Radiographs
  • Planning/Managing Dental Hygiene Care
  • Performing Periodontal Procedures
  • Using Preventive Agents
  • Providing Supportive Treatment
  • Professional Responsibility

III. Community Health/Research Principles

What question formats are on the NBDHE?

According to the NBDHE guide published by the ADA, examinees should be prepared to encounter several formats on the hygienist exam:

  • Traditional Multiple Choice
  • Paired True-False (Usually presents A and B / A but not B / B but not A / Neither A or B are Correct)
  • Cause-Effect
  • Exception (This usually presents as ‘all of the following except’)
  • Matching
  • Ordering
  • Multiple Response
  • Item Sets - Testlets
  • Item Shells

How long is the NBDHE?

The NBDHE board exam is administered in one day and is comprised of 350 total questions. The exam consists of two components: 200 discipline-based items and 150 case-based items.

Case-based items (both on the real exam and in BoardVitals content) can consist of the following:

  • Patient dental/medical history
  • Dental chart
  • Radiographs
  • Photographs

Note that not all cases include all of the elements mentioned. For more information about the exam please Contact BoardVitals.

NBDHE Pass Rates

Approximately 8,000 students take the NBDHE every year, with approximately 75% of students taking the exam from March-June each year. The 2016 NBDHE pass rate was approximately 92%, so most people do pass. However, there is a correlation with the number of practice questions taken in the field of dentistry and pass rate on the exam.

NBDHE Prep for Success

BoardVitals shows the percent correct for each question so that those preparing for the exam can make sure that they are not falling in the bottom 10% of the test taking population. Institutions regularly use BoardVitals to identify the students that are underperforming compared to the national average, and students have access to dashboards which show the categories they need to prepare for.