This article clarifies the major differences between the NBDE parts I & II and the new INBDE.

The National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) is essential to becoming a licensed dentist in the United States. It is administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE). There are two parts of the NBDE: Part I and Part II. In July 2020, the JCNDE introduced a new exam called the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE), which is meant to provide a more comprehensive assessment of dental knowledge and replaces the NBDE Part I & II. It combines the content of Parts I and II and additional topics not covered in the NBDE.  As such, it is essential to understand the critical differences between the NBDE and the INBDE, as both exams have different study methodologies. Thus, studying for NBDE parts 1 & 2 will not be sufficient for NBDE1.

NBDE Part I is discontinued from December 31st, 2020 while NBDE Part II will be discontinued from July 31st, 2022.

The Differences

One of the primary differences between the NBDE and the INBDE is the exam format. The NBDE consists of two parts, known as Part I and Part II. The Part I exam is a written multiple-choice exam, while the Part II is a clinical skills assessment. The INBDE, on the other hand, is an exclusively written multiple-choice exam that replaces Part I and II of the NBDE.

Another main difference between these two exams lies in their difficulty levels. The Part I exam of the NBDE is generally considered one of the most complex written exams in dentistry, while Part II involves challenging and complex clinical scenarios. The INBDE, in contrast, is considered a more comprehensive and tough test that combines the written and clinical elements of the NBDE into one exam.

The NBDE is an 8-hour exam composed of 400 multiple-choice questions. It is intended to assess a dental student’s knowledge of basic and clinical sciences that are pertinent to dentistry. Part I covers Anatomic Sciences, Physiology and Biochemistry, Pathology and Microbiology, Dental Anatomy and Occlusion, and Pain Control and Management. Part II covers Pharmacology, Behavioral Sciences, General Pathology, Diagnosis and Clinical Oral Pathology, and Treatment Planning. The NBDE Part I and Part II exams are scored as Pass/Fail, and no numeric score is associated with the passage. The INBDE is an 8-hour exam composed of 500 multiple-choice questions that cover more clinical elements and associated medical relevance.

INBDE Exam Content Breakdown

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INBDE Details

  • Time: INBDE is a two-day examination with a total of 500 total items:
    • Day 1: It should be taken on a Computer and is made up of 360 test items – 3 sets of 100 items and 1 set of 60 case questions
    • Day 2 consists of 140 test items comprising 2 sets of 70 case questions.
  • Scoring: The INBDE score is given on a scale of 49-99, with the passing score for INBDE being 75 or above.
  • Eligibility: Graduates of International dental schools must be prepared to submit their official dental school transcripts verified by Educational Evaluators.
  • Attempts: The five-year / five-attempts eligibility rule under JCNDE states that the candidate must clear the examination within five years of the first attempt or within five attempts – whichever comes first. This means after 5 years of your first attempt or after 5 attempts of NBDE or INBDE. The candidate can take the test 12 months after the most recent examination.
  • Fees:
    • INDBE Fee: $750
    • Processing Fee for International Candidates via ECE: $235
    • Results Report Fee (optional): $45 per report
    • Results Audit Fee (optional): $65
    • INBDE Certificate: depends on the frame and size
    • Eligibility Extension Fee: $125



Mohsen Saeed Al Ozaibi, BDS, MBA. A Dentist at Bani Yas Medical Clinic and at Emirates Jordanind Medical Center, Founder of OziDent.com. Graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor's Degree in Dental Science from Misr International University and a Master's degree in Business and Administration from the University of the People. A veteran in digital dental content publishing and marketing.

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