2023 Edition

NBDHE Dental Hygienist Certification Test

This Free NBDHE Certification Practice Test will give you an idea of the types of questions and sections on your actual exam.

The NBDHE assists state boards in qualifying dental hygienists who seek licensure in their jurisdiction. The exam assesses a hygienist’s ability to understand relevant information including basic biomedical, dental and dental hygiene sciences and the ability to apply the information into a problem-solving context.

When you are ready to start studying and get certified, use our NBDHE Practice Exam Kit with 750 questions and fully explained answers, including 20 Patient Case Testlets.


Scientific Basis for Dental Hygiene Practice

1. The maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve passes through the ______.
2. Which type of epithelia lines the oral cavity?

Provision of Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice

3. Which lymph nodes are assessed through palpitation with the patient's head tilted forward?
4. What condition of the mouth is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus?
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Community Dental Health Testlet

5. A hypothesis that was tested using a statistical test shows a p-value of 0.04. Which statement is correct?
6. What index is used to detect early symptoms of gingivitis?
7. Disclosing solution is necessary for use in which indices?

Case Testlets

 Case 1 Testlet

Age: 11
Sex: M
Height: 4'11"
Weight: 110 B/P: 115/78

Chief Complaint:
None. This patient is being brought to the office for a routine dental evaluation and cleaning.

Medical History:
This patient suffers from seasonal allergies. He has not ever had an asthma flare-up but his doctor has prescribed asthma medication to manage his cough after outdoor activities during the cooler months.

Current Medications:
Albuterol nebulizer PRN
Claritin 5mg qd

Dental History:
This patient has not seen a dentist in 2 years as his family moved into the area and then underwent a change in dental insurance. His mother reports that now they have found a dental office that they like she will bring him every 6 months for preventive care appointments.

Social History:
This patient enjoys sporting activities and plays soccer regularly. He recently signed up to be on a flag football team at his school. He often drinks sports drinks during games, but drinks mostly water during practice.



8. In regards to the patient consuming sports drinks, what type of nutritional counseling advice is most appropriate?

 Case 2 Testlet

Age: 9
Sex: F
Height: 4'4"
Weight: 68
B/P: 109/72

Chief Complaint:
Patient complains of a broken tooth in her upper right posterior region. Her mother reports that she has complained of it hurting for the past 2 days.

Medical History:
The patient was hospitalized 7 months ago for a broken arm when she fell off of a horse.

Current Medications:

Dental History:
Patient has been coming into the office since she was 3 for routine preventive care appointments every 6 months. She has no history of dental decay and had sealants placed on her 6-year molars during the last visit.

Social History:
Patient is in 3rd grade at a local private school. She enjoys reading and drawing. 

9. The dentist prescribes bitewing radiographs to check the interproximal areas of the primary and permanent molars. How many films would this patient need?

 Case 3 Testlet

Age: 8
Sex: M
Height: 4' 4"
Weight: 70
B/P: 110/78

Chief Complaint:
Patient's mother is concerned with upper anterior crowding and wonders if he needs to have braces.

Medical History:
This patient just completed a round of antibiotics for an inner ear infection. He is also allergic to latex.

Current Medications:
None. Patient just completed a round of amoxicillin.

Dental History:
Patient has not been seen in the office for 20 months. The patient's mother states she had to go back to work full-time and was not able to make an appointment before now.

Social History:
The patient is currently enrolled in 2nd grade at the local public elementary school. He has a pet dog named "Buddy." He is enrolled in a Boy Scout group and enjoys camping on the weekends with his den.

10. The patient appears to exhibit good oral hygiene habits, but upon scaling interproximal areas there is some moderate bleeding. What would be the best oral hygiene counseling to address at this visit?

Quality starts with who wrote the material.
Our practice exam writer
Sharon Boyd, RDH
, has been a registered dental hygienist for over 10 years. She specializes in creating educational material for dental studies and has been a head continuing education curriculum writer for an American Dental Association CERP provider.

Abby Altergott, RDH
, has been a registered dental hygienist for over 8 years. She has worked in the specialties of oral surgery, periodontics and orthodontics.

Licensing of dental hygienists in the U.S. is regulated by the individual states. Currently, all states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands recognize exam results from the National Board of Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE). The exam assesses a hygienist’s ability to understand relevant information including basic biomedical, dental and dental hygiene sciences and the ability to apply the information into a problem-solving context.

The NBDHE consists of 350 questions. There are 2 components to the NBDHE:

Discipline-based questions on the following three areas: Scientific Basis for Dental Hygiene Practice, Provision of Clinical Dental Hygiene Services and Community Health/Research Principles.

Dental Hygiene Patient Cases containing at least one geriatric, periodontal, pediatric, special needs and medically compromised patient.