The very first National Board Dental Examination in the United States was administered in 1933. This important test has gone through some changes and modifications over the years, including a switch from essay questions a multiple choice format and the transition to computer scoring, of course.

But in 2009, a committee was formed, charged with the task of completely overhauling the somewhat outdated exam. Many in the industry have likened it to the creation of a new exam altogether, which will be called the Integrated National Board Dental Examination and will replace the current National Board Dental Examination Part I and Part II.

What few expected was that it would take more than a decade to develop and validate this new exam that young dentists must take and pass before receiving their accreditation as dentists.

"I don’t think any of us thought we were signing up for such a long journey," said Dr. Mark Christensen, a member of the Committee for an Integrated Examination, during a recognition dinner held June 19 in Chicago. "I guess we had a lot more stamina that we thought."

The committee was tasked with looking for specific opportunities, including increasing the appropriateness of test content, improving the examination experience for candidates and to better assist regulatory agencies.

The committee will officially announce the implementation dates for the new exam and the retirement of the National Board Dental Examination Part I and Part II before the end of summer. According to the committee, the last administration of Part I will occur July 31, 2020; and the last administration of Part II will occur July 31, 2022. And happy news for upcoming test takers the new exam is expected to include a mere 500 items, compared with 900 in total from both NBDE Part I and Part II.

"The new examination will better protect the public, and it will better serve state boards and students and dental education," Dr. Christensen said. "It will be a significant improvement — a change that will broadly impact and benefit the profession."

For more information on the Integrated National Board Dental Examination, visit