What you need to know about the new 2019 NBDHE guidelines

The 2019 National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) new guideline is here! As the founder of the StudentRDH dental hygiene exam prep program, I think that it is critical that our students understand the content of the new guideline because it holds some really important information. To help you be ready for one of the biggest days of your life, I have already dissected it and will provide you with the highlights of the 2019 guidelines here.

This article also contains a very important piece of information that is not in the guidelines, so read on!

1. The new AAP Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases and Conditions will not be applied to the 2019 NBDHE (page 6 of the guidelines)

In the June 2018 issue of the Journal of Periodontology, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) published updates to its Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases and Conditions. However, the NBDHE will continue to base the test on the 1999 AAP disease classification.

It will be a difficult time for students and faculties to prepare for the dental hygiene boards. You must master the 1999 classifications to pass the test. But you must also learn the 2018 guidelines to prepare for being a clinician. When answering any relevant questions, try to think of the 1999 guidelines and not be distracted by what the “2018 answer” would be.

At StudentRDH, we closely follow the guidelines and use the 1999 classifications.

2. The scope of the exam stays the same with 350 multiple-choice items (page 7 of the guidelines)

The examination consists of two components, one discipline based and the other case based.

The discipline-based component includes 200 items addressing three major areas: (1) scientific basis for dental hygiene practice, (2) provision of clinical dental hygiene services, and (3) community health/research principles. The testlet format will be used for the portion of the community health/research principles section.

The case-based component includes 150 items that refer to 12 to 15 dental hygiene patient cases.

3. The schedule stays the same, with a total maximum time of nine hours to complete the boards (page 15 of the guidelines)

4. There are four question types (page 9 of the guidelines)

A multiple-choice examination item consists of a stem, which poses a problem, followed by a list of possible answers. The stem of an examination item is usually either a question or an incomplete statement. The followings are the question types you will see:

- Completion

- Paired true-false

- Question

- Negative

Note that you will see three to five possible answer choices. Among those choices, only one of the responses is considered the correct or best option.

5. The new hypertension guidelines updated by the American Heart Association in 2017 will not be used.

The guidelines do not state this; however, I personally contacted the NBDHE to find out if the new 2017 hypertension guidelines would be used for the board exams. The organization responded very quickly, and the answer is no. The national board examinations will be based on the older guidelines.

To download the comprehensive summary for the 2019 guidelines and see the video I created, go to www.studentrdh.com/nbdhe2019.

I hope that you now feel to tackle the National Dental Hygiene Boards! Please email me if you have any questions, at [email protected].

About the Author

Claire Jeong, MS, RDH

Claire Jeong, MS, RDH, is an entrepreneur, author, educator, researcher, and international speaker. She is the founder of SmarterDA/StudentRDH–dental assisting and dental hygiene exam prep solutions. Through her live and online courses, Claire has helped thousands of people gain valuable dental knowledge and clinical skills. She authored the e-book WakeUp Memory, which teaches how to use the brain and remember anything. Claire is regularly invited to podcasts and conferences as a key opinion leader. She also provides guidance to companies to reach the younger generation of dental professionals. Email her at [email protected].