NBDHE General Information
Click the blue box and check back daily for new information. Important updates for all testing candidates regarding COVID-19
Capacity Limited at Pearson Vue Test Centers Due to COVID-19 Restrictions
As a direct result of state and county social distancing guidelines, testing appointment availability has been substantially reduced at sites across the US, with most Pearson VUE sites operating at 50% capacity or less. Additionally, site capacity continues to fluctuate as guidelines are further modified at the state and county level, and as Pearson VUE extends testing hours where possible.
In light of the situation, the Department of Testing Services (DTS) recommends the following:
- Candidates should schedule their testing appointments as soon as possible to avoid delays in testing.
- Candidates who have already scheduled appointments may wish to revisit their scheduling periodically to see if an earlier appointment may be available, as Pearson VUE adjusts to meet the demand.
- Candidates whose six-month eligibility window is about to expire are invited to contact DTS at firstname.lastname@example.org if they are experiencing scheduling issues.
- Candidates experiencing general difficulties obtaining an NBDHE testing appointment are welcome to contact DTS at email@example.com.
- When reaching out to DTS, candidates should make sure to include their DENTPIN, preferred testing location (including city and state), and the date range in which they are trying to take the exam.
SHORT FORM NBDHE
The JCNDE has reduced the length of the NBDHE so that it now requires less than four hours to complete. The shortened version of the examination should make it less difficult for students to find testing appointments. The standard-length version of the NBDHE will not resume administration until fall of 2021 at the earliest. Once an exact date has been set, further information will be posted and disseminated to dental hygiene programs.
More information can be found by downloading the NBDHE Quick Facts (PDF) and Short-Form FAQs (PDF).
Apply to Take the NBDHE
You will be asked to confirm you have read the Guide and agree to the rules and regulations.
A DENTPIN will be required to apply to take the test. If you have previously applied for, or taken, the DAT, NBDE, or NBDHE, you already have a DENTPIN. Retrieve, register, or get more information about DENTPIN.
Download and review the NBDHE Frequently Asked Questions About Scoring (PDF).
The NBDHE application can be found on the left navigation.
Request for Testing Accommodations
An individual is considered to have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working.
English as a second language, test anxiety, slow reading without an identified underlying physical or mental deficit, or failure to achieve a desired outcome are generally not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Examination fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable. There are no exceptions. Your credit or debit card will be charged when you submit your application.
The name on your IDs must match exactly the name on your application or you will be denied admission to test. If you are denied admission, you will need to submit a new application. Your previous fee will be forfeited.
Electronic Notification of NBDHE Eligibility
The timeline for processing your application depends on your status as an applicant. The eligibility requirements are outlined in the Guide. Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email notification concerning your eligibility to test and instructions for scheduling an appointment. Please check your spam folder if you are unable to locate the notification.
Schedule a Time to Take the Examination
Schedule a testing appointment with Pearson VUE 60 to 90 days before your desired exam date. Please remember, you may schedule your examination appointment with Pearson VUE only upon receipt of your eligibility notification.
Rescheduling Examination Appointments
Reschedule your examination appointment by contacting Pearson VUE at least 24 hours before your appointment. The rescheduling fee is $25. Reschedule an appointment by contacting Pearson VUE at 888.456.2830 or at www.pearsonvue.com. Leaving a message for a local test center is not sufficient; the local test center cannot schedule, reschedule, or cancel your appointment.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment due to an emergency please contact the Department of Testing Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800.232.1694.
Take the Exam at a Pearson VUE Test Center
If you have concerns about scheduling issues, examination conditions, or any unresolved problems, inform the test administrator before leaving the test center. For issues requiring further action, email email@example.com within five business days after the scheduled examination appointment.
Schedule Change Information
The schedule change for each of the National Board Examinations is now in effect.
An optimal 15-minute scheduled break has been added to each section of the National Board Examinations.
Please download and read about the schedule change information in the respective National Board Guides
This change does not affect the total testing time required for the examinations, with the exception of adding 15 minutes to Day 2 of the NBDE Part II. To compensate for the additional 30 minutes of break time, the optional scheduled lunch break has been shortened from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. Please make any necessary preparations and adjustments in anticipation of the shortened lunch break.
The additional breaks occur after a specified number of questions have been answered, NOT according to the amount of time that has elapsed. Once you have answered the questions, you must review your answers to those questions before taking the optional 15 minute break. You will NOT be able to return to the first set of questions after you have finished the review. Candidates who have been granted additional time as part of a testing accommodation will not receive additional scheduled breaks, but can instead be granted additional unscheduled breaks.
Joint Commission data suggest that examinees tend to spend more time on patient case testlets than on standalone items. Please make sure to pace yourself appropriately as you work through the examination, noting in particular the presence of testlets in examination sections. As a reminder, you may access your locker during scheduled breaks, but NOT during unscheduled breaks. Accessing your locker during an unscheduled break can result in the voiding of your scores and a mandatory retest wait period of up to two years.
Exam Preparation Material and Helpful Information
Download the Test Day Checklist
Please download and review this test day checklist(PDF) for a summary of the most frequent issues that create complications for candidates on the day of testing. The Department of Testing Services (DTS) encourages you to read the entire guidebook for the test you are taking and to call the DTS at 800.232.2162 with any questions.
You may want to familiarize yourself with the Pearson VUE software examination software.
Also, download and read the following document for additional important information regarding the NBDHE:
The list of NBDHE reference texts can be downloaded from the link below:
An interactive tutorial is available to download on the Pearson VUE Website. The NBDHE tutorial provides information to successfully navigate through the items and case materials in the examination. The case images can be enlarged on screen six of the tutorial by clicking the magnifying glass (zoom in) a maximum of three times. The tutorial is provided at the Pearson VUE test centers prior to taking the examination.
A practice test for the NBDHE is also available.
Important Note Concerning Periodontics Terminology:
In 2017, the American Academy of Periodontology introduced new classifications. These new classifications will be implemented in the fall of 2021 for the NBDHE. Download the classification information below.
Perio Classification at a Glance (PDF)
Perio Classification FAQ (PDF)
Staging and Grading Periodontics (PDF)
During the transition period, it is recommended that individuals become knowledgeable with both sets of classifications, because individual researchers, practitioners, and existing textbooks can communicate information using either set of classifications. Periodontal educators recommend that individuals refer to the 2017 World Workshop On the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-implant Diseases and Conditions available on the American Academy of Periodontology website.
To report issues and incidents of fraud, including but not limited to: content compromise, sharing of test content, breaches of test integrity and or testing contract, please contact the Department of Testing Services at TestSecurity@ada.org.
Examination Item Development Guide
Item Development Guide
This publication of the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations provides item development guidelines to new and current item writers to augment the quality and quantity of new exam items into our item bank. The use of the item development guidelines should increase the chances that submitted items will be accepted. Download the JCNDE Examination Item Development Guide (PDF), which is intended:
- To inform dental and academic communities of interest about the item development process for National Board Dental and Dental Hygiene Examinations.
- To 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.
NBDHE Results Information and Audit Request
A note on the NBDHE failure rate: Candidates who have recently taken the NBDHE have reached out to DTS expressing concern that the short-form-NBDHE 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, 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.
National Board results are available in My Account. Follow these instructions on how to access your results.
To order your examination results, please select the NBDHE Results Request in the left navigation.
Examination results are audited for accuracy before being posted. To order an audit request of your results, you must log in with your DENTPIN.
Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations
211 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Test Security and Fraud Prevention
To report issues and incidents of fraud, sharing of test content, and breaches of test integrity and testing contract, please contact the Department of Testing Services at TestSecurity@ada.org