2024 Edition

NBDHE Dental Hygienist Practice Test

Take this FREE NBDHE sample practice test below to see how prepared you are for a dental hygienist certification exam.

The NBDHE Dental Hygienist exam has 350 questions and has two components - Discipline Based and Dental Hygiene Patient Cases. The first component covers these main exam sections: Scientific Basis for Dental Hygiene Practice; Provision of Clinical Dental Hygiene Services and Principles of Community Health and Research. The second component of patient cases contains at least one each of geriatric, periodontal, pediatric, special needs and medically compromised patient cases.

For complete practice, check out the NBDHE Practice Exam Kit with 750 questions and fully explained answers, including 20 Patient Case Testlets.


1. Hypersensitivity of a root lessens as the tooth forms which of the following?
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2. What nerve supplies the intrinsic muscles of the tongue?
3. Which of the following is the most radioresistant?
4. Fluoride is typically introduced in all of the following ways except by:
5. Gingivitas is considered controlled when:
6. A flat stone may be used to sharpen a curette by hand. The face of the curette should be at what angle to the stone?
7. Radiographic intensifying screens are used for:
8. After an outbreak of herpetic gingivostomatitis, the herpes simplex virus may remain dormant in which of the following?
9. Which of the following is the most significant characteristic of an overdenture?
10. A dental carie is another name for:
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11. Which of the following is one of the main reasons for a root canal?
12. Vital whitening is performed on which of the following?
13. A vasoconstrictor does which of the following when used in conjunction with Lidocaine?
14. When a periapical abscess forms, it indicates what?
15. If a dentist is placing a bonded filling, she will do which of the following to ensure the filling bonds to the tooth?
16. A pedicle graft uses a flap of tissue from which part of the mouth?
17. Where does the bone for a bone augmentation typically comes from in an implantation procedure?
18. A veneer will correct all of the following except?
19. Patients should give informed consent to all dental procedures. Which of the following is not a part of informed consent?
20. Which nerve is the most significant to dentistry?
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21. The following are all regions of the face, except:
22. Where might you find the majority of the papillae on the tongue?
23. Which of the following are muscles of mastication?
24. Which specialty of dentistry is the Palmer Notation Method most commonly used in?
25. What is the term for when the maxillary arch horizontally overlaps the mandibular arch by
26. Which of the following parafunctional habits affect malocclusion of the jaws?
27. Hutchinson incisors and Mulberry molars are developmental disturbances caused by which
28. Something that deviates from what is standard or normal is called a(n):
29. The following are terms used to describe the clinical appearance of a soft tissue lesion, except:
30. Which of the following immunologic diseases has the common characteristic of a "target" or "bull's eye" lesion?
31. Which of the following infectious diseases is caused by coxsackievirus?
32. All of the following match the pneumonic for the ABCDEs of melanoma, except:
33. Which of the following systemic diseases has a direct systemic link to periodontal disease?
34. Which of the following medications has a side effect of dry mouth?
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35. Scurvy is a clinical condition that results from which vitamin deficiency?
36. Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth caused by:
37. All of the following are oral manifestations of a patient who presents with bulimia, except:
38. Which of the following requires a patient to premedicate prior to their dental appointment?
39. Complete tooth displacement from the socket following extensive trauma is called?
40. What is the primary cause of the condition known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC)?
41. When taking a dental radiographic, if the tube head is improperly positioned, and the center of the beam misses the center of the sensor/film cutting off the edge of the focal spot and creating a blank space, it is known as:
42. When would you take a periapical image instead of a bitewing?
43. All of the following indicate the need to perform scaling and root planing (SRP) on a patient, except:
44. What is enamel primarily composed of?
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45. Acidity produced when the bacteria in foods break down causes demineralization of enamel. At what level pH does enamel begin to demineralize?
46. Which protein found in saliva is the most prominent defender against bacterial injuries within the oral cavity?
47. Drugs are classified into five categories, or Schedules, to differentiate between drugs used for medical use and to identify drugs with higher drug dependency. Which category does heroin fall under?
48. Which drug is considered a broad spectrum drug since it can kill a wide variety of bacteria, but should not be given to children under 12 or pregnant women as it can cause discoloration on developing teeth?
49. Where is the incisive papilla located?
50. Which of the following natural sugars are considered the best substitute for traditional sugar?

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
  • Community Health/Research Principles.

Dental Hygiene Patient Cases containing 12-15 patient cases addressing the following knowledge and skill areas:

  • Assessing patient characteristics
  • Obtaining and interpreting radiographs
  • Planning and managing dental hygiene care
  • Performing periodontal procedures
  • Using preventive agents
  • Providing supportive treatment service
  • Professional responsibility