icon-education Frequently Asked Questions and Advice From Candidates

Many of the answers to questions commonly asked by Candidates can be found on this page. Please review the information provided prior to contacting the WREB Office.

General
Q: Which exams am I required to take?

A:  WREB is a regional testing agency, not a licensing board. Each state is different in its requirements for licensure. Some require Hygiene only, while others require Local Anesthesia and Restorative. Contact the state board or state designated licensing agency from which you are seeking licensure for their requirements.

Q: I am interested in a refresher course. Which schools should I contact?

A:  WREB does not provide course or program information. Visit the ADA.org or ADHA.org websites for a list of accredited dental hygiene schools.

Q: How do I apply for a WREB exam?

A:  You may apply for any available WREB exam for which you are qualified by utilizing either the Online Application via the Schedule page of the WREB Website or by the Mail-In Application. Applying online does not guarantee a space in the exam. It is your responsibility to ensure that all specified application requirements are met. See Application Policies & Procedures on the WREB Website for more information.

Q: Can I register for a WREB exam now but pay later?

A:  No, you must pay the exam fees at the time of registration. Online applicants must use a credit card. WREB accepts Visa, Master Card or Discover only. You should verify that you have sufficient credit available to cover the entire exam fee. Multiple credit cards cannot be used. Applicants applying by mail must pay with a cashier’s check or money order only.

Q: Should I wait for my dean or program director to sign the Course Certification Form before I apply for an exam?

A:  It is not necessary to wait for the certification prior to registering for an exam. You may register for an exam now and send proof of qualification later. However, your proof of qualification must be received no less than three weeks prior to the first scheduled day of the exam, or you will be cancelled from the exam and no refund will be given. See Application Policies & Procedures on the WREB Website for more information.

Q: I want to take the exam held at ABC College, but the website shows unavailable. What does that mean?

A:  It could mean that:  1) the Student Hold is in effect for that exam; or 2) the exam has sold out in advance of the Application Deadline.

Q: What is the Student Hold?

A:  For each exam site, WREB holds in reserve a finite number of spaces for graduating students of the exam site school’s current year dental hygiene program. Those students have until 11:59pm Arizona Time of the specified date to register.  If they fail to register by that time, those seats previously held in reserve will become available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. Availability, if any, will be reflected almost immediately on the WREB Website.

Q: What if I need special accommodations for the exam I am about to take?

A: Special accommodations are available under certain circumstances. WREB will provide reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, or services, provided the requested accommodations would not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the exam is intended to test. Requests must be received 45 days prior to the first day of the exam. For complete information refer to “Special Accommodations Information” section on the WREB website.

Q: I registered for the Local Anesthesia Written Exam on the WREB Website, but when I contacted Prometric to schedule my exam they said that I wasn't eligible. Why?

A:  An Eligibility Number is required to schedule your Local Anesthesia Written Exam which is not available until after your Written Exam application has been processed by WREB Staff. Once received, it is strongly recommended that you call Prometric as soon as possible to schedule your Local Anesthesia Written Exam; however, it may take up to 24 hours for Prometric to receive the information. Be advised that you MUST successfully attempt (pass) the Written Exam within the testing timeframe specified in your Examination Authorization Letter or risk forfeiture of your Clinical exam attempt and registration fees. See the WREB Local Anesthesia Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: I am using a classmate as a patient for the Anesthesia Exam/ sharing a patient for the Hygiene Exam, does WREB need to know this information?

A:  Yes, so that we may attempt to schedule you both accordingly. All requests must be in writing (an e-mail will suffice) prior to the exam’s Application Deadline in order to be considered. Please understand that while we make every effort to accommodate Candidate scheduling requests, we cannot guarantee accommodation due to a number of extenuating factors (e.g. volume of accommodation requests, number of days per exam type, operatory availability, etc.). See Application Policies & Procedures on the WREB Website for more information.

Q: Can I change my assigned clinical examination time for the Anesthesia/Hygiene/Restorative exam?

A:  No, schedules are arranged in the best interest of all Candidates taking into consideration the number of exam participants, space availability, and number of days per exam type. Schedules are made to give Candidates the optimum open block time and to maintain flow in the grading area and CANNOT be changed.

Q: I lost my driver’s license. Will I need show ID at the Prometric Test Center?

A:  Yes, candidates are required to present valid, non-expired government-issued photo identification (ID) prior to admittance into any Prometric Test Center. For Prometric Test Center identification requirements, please visit www.prometric.com or call 800-490-6550.

Q: I lost my driver’s license. Will I need show ID at the Clinical exam?

A:  Yes, candidates are required to present two (2) valid, non-expired photo identification (ID) prior to admittance into any WREB exam. See the WREB Exam Security and Identification Verification section of the WREB Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: When will I receive my exam results?

A:  WREB performs a thorough check and confirmation of exam results prior to release. Preliminary results for Local Anesthesia, Hygiene and Restorative Clinical exams are given onsite. However, official results are provided after processing in the WREB Office. Candidates will be notified via e-mail when official results are posted. Candidates may then view their official results on the WREB Website via secure login.

Q: I need to schedule my jurisprudence exam. What do I need to do?

A:  Individual state boards administer the jurisprudence exam. You should contact the appropriate state board for details.

Q: The State in which I am seeking licensure requires a copy of my scores, how do I obtain that information?

A:  Generally, official exam results will be available online within one (1) week of the last scheduled day of the examination. You will be able to print your WREB Success Memo from the WREB Website via your secure login. As of 2010, access to official results is available for up to a year from your Clinical test date.

Although WREB sends exam results reports to each of our Member State Boards, you will need to include a copy of your WREB examination results with your application for licensure. If a State Board requires additional information regarding your exam results, you may visit the Scoring Information and Reports page for descriptions of the various reports available.

Local Anesthesia - Written Exam
Q: Can I schedule my Local Anesthesia Written Exam with Prometric at the same time I register for the Local Anesthesia Clinical Exam?

A:  No, an Eligibility Number is required to schedule your Local Anesthesia Written Exam which is not available until after your application has been processed by the WREB Staff.  Once received, it is strongly recommended that you call Prometric as soon as possible to schedule your Local Anesthesia Written Exam; however, it may take up to 24 hours for Prometric to receive the information. Be advised that you must attempt the Local Anesthesia Written Exam within the testing timeframe specified in your Witten Examination Authorization Letter. See the WREB Local Anesthesia Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: What should I do if I experience technical difficulties while taking the Local Anesthesia Written Exam at a Prometric Testing Center?

A:  Prometric is responsible for the technical administration of the Local Anesthesia Written Exam.  If you experience technical difficulties, contact the designated Prometric Administrator or Floor Technician right away.

Q: I ran out of time and did not answer all the questions remaining. Will I automatically fail the exam?

A:  Not necessarily. An attempt can result in success despite not having answered all of the questions. However, a score of 75 or higher is required for successful completion of the Local Anesthesia Written Exam.

Q: When will I receive my results for the Local Anesthesia Written Exam?

A:  Exam results are posted daily. Once posted, candidates will receive an e-mail containing instructions on how to retrieve their exam results. Please DO NOT contact the WREB office in regard to results posting. The Local Anesthesia Written Exam is graded independently of the Local Anesthesia Clinical Exam. However, successful completion of the Written Exam is required prior to attempting the Clinical Exam.

Q: I failed the Local Anesthesia Written Exam, can I still take my scheduled Clinical Exam?

A:  No, per WREB Policy, candidates must successfully complete (pass) the Local Anesthesia Written Exam before attempting the Local Anesthesia Clinical Exam. You might be able to re-test the Written exam depending upon the testing timeframe for the Clinical exam in which you are enrolled. Be advised that you MUST successfully attempt (pass) the Written Exam within the testing timeframe specified in your Examination Authorization Letter or risk forfeiture of your Clinical exam attempt and registration fees. See the WREB Local Anesthesia Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: What are the requirements for Candidates who have made multiple unsuccessful attempts of the Local Anesthesia Exam?

A:  The Local Anesthesia Written Exam is graded independently of the Local Anesthesia Clinical Exam. However, successful completion of both exams is required in order to receive an overall passing score. Candidates who have multiple unsuccessful attempts of the Local Anesthesia exam should refer to the Remediation Policy & Forms section of the WREB Website for more information.

ADVICE FROM PREVIOUS CANDIDATES who have taken the Local Anesthesia WRITTEN Exam
  • Read and re-read the Candidate Guide and Policy Guide several times before the exam.
  • Study the references; know dosages, medical history contraindications and complications, and anatomy
  • Notify the Prometric Proctor or Floor Technician right away if you have computer difficulties.
Local Anesthesia - Clinical Exam
Q: When should I tell my patient to arrive?

A:  This is up to you and the patient. But as you are directed into the clinic prior to your assigned examination time in order to set up and prepare to perform the injections, it is helpful if the patient is told to be there at least an hour or more ahead of the scheduled time.

Q: When can I take my patient's blood pressure?

A:  Blood pressure is to be taken within an hour of the assigned clinical examination time. It does not have to be taken in the clinic. It can be taken in the patient waiting area or reception area or wherever your hearing is not impaired. It greatly aids exam flow if you take the BP before entering the clinic, so that examiners are not kept waiting.

Q: When can I apply topical?

A:  Examiners will check the patient for sores/puncture marks, for maxillary second molars and a premolar in each mandibular quadrant, and review the patient’s medical history. After the examiners have accepted the patient, you will be instructed to apply topical to both sites. (This is not an observed/graded procedure.)

Q: What do I do after “dropping a drop”?

A:  Dropping a drop of anesthetic solution ahead of the needle as it is advanced is not part of PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS. If you have been taught this method to possibly increase patient comfort, you must use your own clinical judgment. In this instance, examiners do not tell you when to proceed or how many drops are enough. However, “Amount” is a graded criterion and if too much anesthetic is deposited prior to reaching the target site and aspirating, you will fail the exam. (See the Critical Aspects of Injection section of the WREB Local Anesthesia Candidate Guide.)

Q: When is it OK to withdraw? What counts as an attempt?

A:  If bone is prematurely contacted so that the needle does not reach the appropriate depth, you must use your own clinical judgment and either reposition or withdraw the syringe and re-penetrate (making an adjustment in the insertion site). You have three attempts to penetrate, before you are stopped and failed. An attempt occurs each time the syringe/needle is withdrawn from tissue and reinserted.

Q: What sterilization procedures should be followed?

A:  Information on the school/test site’s procedures and protocols are available on the WREB Website and should be viewed prior to the exam. Infection control is reviewed during the tour prior to the Candidate Orientation. The school guidelines are to be followed exactly. Ask questions during the tour if you are unclear as to the requirements. See Exam Site Information for Candidates for more information.

Q: What if my patient has only one maxillary second molar?

A:  The patient will be rejected, which constitutes failure of the exam. The examiners use landmark teeth to evaluate proper technique. “All landmark teeth must be present in the event that an injection needs to be repeated on the other side.” The requirement of maxillary second molars and a premolar in each mandibular quadrant for patient acceptability is not intended to limit the patient pool or in any way disadvantage you. Actually, having the ‘landmark’ teeth present should help you perform passing injections.

Q: Will I fail the exam if I get a positive aspiration?

A:  No, there is no penalty for positive aspiration.  However, you will not pass the injection if you do not recognize and handle a positive aspiration properly. Refer to the WREB Anesthesia Candidate Guide for the proper procedure for handling positive aspirations. In the event of a second positive aspiration at the same injection site, you will be asked to withdraw the needle and the injection will be graded as performed.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements and procedures for an on-site Local Anesthesia Clinical exam retake?

A:  Please see the Retake Examination On Site section of the WREB Local Anesthesia Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: What are the payment options for an on-site Local Anesthesia Clinical retake?

A:  Eligible candidates may pay $250 for the onsite retake of their Local Anesthesia Clinical examination with a credit or debit card displaying the Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express logo. WREB also accepts cashier’s checks or money orders for onsite retakes as well.

ADVICE FROM PREVIOUS CANDIDATES who have taken the Local Anesthesia CLINICAL Exam
  • READ, READ, MEMORIZE the Candidate Guide and Policy Guide several times before the exam.
  • Get Comfortable. Get a syringe that fits your hand; bring double of everything.
  • Visualize your injections; practice with three stopping points.
  • Focus. Make sure that the large “window” is toward you and can be seen by the examiners.
  • Relax. Try to stay calm. Think positive. Examiners know you are nervous.
Q: If I pass the Local Anesthesia Written Exam, but fail the Clinical Examination, will I have to retake both exams?

A:  Unsuccessful candidates have up to twelve (12) months from their initial Clinical Exam attempt to retest the portion of the exam in which they were unsuccessful.  If a candidate does not apply for and successfully complete a re-examination attempt within twelve (12) months of their initial Clinical Exam attempt, both the Written and Clinical exams MUST be retested. Overall successful completion of the WREB Local Anesthesia Examination requires passing scores in both the Written Exam and the Clinical Exam. See Application Policies & Procedures on the WREB Website for more information.

Q: I failed one injection and passed the other, but wasn’t able to complete an on-site retake. I’ve registered for another clinical exam at a different location. Can I just test the injection that I previously failed or will I have to complete both injections?

A:  No, if testing at another exam site, you will have to complete both injections.

Dental Hygiene - Clinical Exam
Q: I plan to submit a quadrant that has more than 12 heavy, subgingival calculus deposits with probing depths of 6 mm or less; but the quadrant also contains a localized area that has a definite 7mm pocket. I don't want to include that as one of the 12 qualifying surfaces. Will I be penalized even though I don't submit the 7mm pocket as one of my surfaces?

A:  Only examiners can disqualify a surface. If there is a localized area(s) in the quadrant that has a pocket depth of >7mm, the examiners will disqualify that surface as a qualifying surface. If there are 12 qualifying surfaces elsewhere in the quadrant, that shouldn’t be a problem. You are not penalized if there are pocket depths >6mm. The criteria for pocket depths only applies to qualifying surfaces.

Q: Is there a maximum number of qualifying surfaces on the MAXILLARY anterior teeth?

A:  No, the limitation is only on the mandibular anterior teeth–a maximum of four qualifying surfaces may be from canine to canine or from canine to central incisor.

Q: If I use the same patient for my first submission and also as my alternate submission, and the first submission is rejected, will I be penalized 4 points, even though it is the same patient?

A:  Yes. If your first patient is rejected, you will incur a 4-point penalty. See the Performance Evaluation section of the WREB Dental Hygiene Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: Can I use the purple Anesthesia Clinical Successful Memo I received at ABC College in March to administer anesthesia to my patient at XYZ College in June?

A:  No, the purple Clinical Success Memo is acceptable documentation only if the anesthesia exam immediately precedes your dental hygiene exam. If your hygiene exam is more than a week after your anesthesia exam, you will receive an Official WREB Success Memo (accessed online via secure login) to post at your operatory, which allows you to administer local anesthetic to your patient at the exam.

Q: It has been over a year since I passed my WREB Local Anesthesia Clinical exam can I administer local anesthetic to my hygiene clinical board patient?

A:  No, candidates are not eligible to administer local anesthetic to their hygiene clinical board patient if their success memo is over twelve months old. The only exception is if the candidate is still a student who has been administering under clinical supervision as part of their accredited hygiene degree program.

Q: My state does not require a local anesthesia exam for licensure. Do I have to take the WREB Local Anesthesia Exam or can I administer local anesthetic to my patient during the WREB Hygiene Clinical Exam?

A:  No, candidates whose state does not require a local anesthesia exam for licensure are not required to take WREB’s Local Anesthesia examination. However, proof of qualification documentation is required in order to administer local anesthetic to your patient during the WREB Hygiene Clinical Exam. See the WREB Dental Hygiene Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: How do I find a practitioner to administer local anesthetic to my patient during the Hygiene Clinical exam?

A:  See the corresponding Exam Site Information for Candidates packet for the specific exam site at which you are enrolled for practitioner availability. If the exam site host does not provide a practitioner, contact the local dental (ADA.org) or dental hygiene (ADHA.org) component in your city or state for assistance.

Q: Can I allow my educator or dentist to look at my patient to see if he/she will qualify as an acceptable patient for the exam?

A:  It is your responsibility to accurately and effectively interpret patient qualification criteria. Therefore, other professionals (including faculty) should not determine your patient’s acceptability for the examination. To avoid the possibility of loss of clinic time and points, read and re-read the Patient Criteria and Criteria for Oral Conditions sections of the WREB Dental Hygiene Candidate Guide to make sure that you understand the requirements for patient acceptance.

Q: My board patient just had a tooth extracted (no complications) from the same quadrant that I am submitting for the exam. Will there be any issues with using him as a patient, or submitting that quad?

A:  If the extraction has had time to heal, and your patient meets the prescribed criteria, you should be able to use the same quadrant. It is recommended that you indicate on the Patient Submission Form that the tooth was recently extracted.

Q: Can I use a 3rd molar as a proximal contact?

A:  If the 3rd molar is fully-erupted or supra-erupted and does not have tissue covering the occlusal surface and is part of your submission, it may be used as a proximal contact. See Dentition under Criteria for Oral Conditions in the WREB Dental Hygiene Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: Where can I buy the required instruments or rent equipment?

A:  WREB does not sell instruments nor rent equipment. Refer to the Exam Site Information for Candidates for equipment rental information as well as a list of materials provided at a specific exam site.

Q: Are there particular handles WREB requires for the explorer or probe?

A:  The handle may be plastic, resin or metal of a comfortable diameter for the clinician.

Q: Can the mirror be double-sided?

A:  The mirror must be a #4 or #5 front-surface mirror and may be double-sided.

Q: Can the probe be a double-ended with a shepherd's hook or does it have to be single-ended?

A:  The probe must be a UNC 12, not a right-angled instrument. Whatever is on the other end is irrelevant. However, the patient’s tray must contain the three instruments specified in the WREB Dental Hygiene Candidate Guide: #4 or 5 front surface mouth mirror; 11/12 ODU double-ended explorer; and UNC-12 periodontal probe.

Q: Our clinic uses a different explorer and I’m unsure how to read the measurements on the UNC12 probe required for this exam.

A:  The UNC probe is divided into 1-12 increments.  Begin by counting the increments on the probe. The bottom of the first heavier line is 4mm and the top of that line is 5mm. The next increment or line would be six. If you do this, you should end at 12, which is the top black line.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements and procedures for an on-site Hygiene Clinical exam retake?

A:  Please see the Retake Examination Onsite section of the WREB Dental Hygiene Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: What are the payment options for an on-site Hygiene Clinical exam retake?

A:  Eligible candidates may pay $700 for the onsite retake of their Hygiene Clinical examination with a credit or debit card displaying the Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express logo. WREB also accepts cashier’s checks or money orders for onsite retakes as well.

ADVICE FROM PREVIOUS CANDIDATES who have taken the Dental Hygiene CLINICAL Exam
  • READ, READ, MEMORIZE your Candidate Guide.
  • Attend the Orientation and Clinic Tour. This helps to further reinforce the examination process and shows you the clinic where you will be taking the exam. Questions are answered and you will feel more sure of yourself.
  • Bring Enrollment Packet(s) and all forms to the orientation(s).
  • Patient criteria.  Make sure your patient has SUBgingival calculus. A patient who has regular recall appointments will not qualify.
  • Secure a board patient. Advise your patient to practice basic oral hygiene (i.e., brush and floss), so that gingival inflammation and bleeding are minimized during the exam. Profuse bleeding impairs instrumentation and visibility and increases risk of tissue damage which is an error you don’t want to have. Remember: Calculus does not brush off!
  • Bring a back-up patient. You may need them, or someone else may need them. Make sure all patients are dependable and realize the importance of their commitment to you.
  • Maintain contact with your Patient.  Get a firm commitment from your patient(s) to be there at least 45 minutes before the exam time.
  • Bring snacks, fruit, water, a blanket and anything else your patient may appreciate. The day is long, clinics are cool.
  • Organize your paperwork. Do as much paperwork as allowed prior to the exam. Make one file for check-in and one for check-out. Be familiar with the forms before orientation.
  • Double-check radiographs for criteria.
  • Prepare in advance the instruments and forms that your patient will be carrying.
  • Re-anesthetize your patient. Consider re-anesthetizing your patient prior to checkout.
  • Bring extra money to the site for unexpected needs.
  • Time Management is essential.
Restorative - Clinical Exam
Q: Can I bring my own triturator or amalgamator?

A:  Yes, it may make you feel more comfortable during the exam using a familiar triturator or amalgamator.  Also, see Exam Site Information for Candidates for a list of equipment and materials provided at the specific exam site.

Q: What happens if I break a prep during the examination?

A:  Inform the Chief Examiner immediately. The Chief Examiner will replace the prepped tooth with the same assignment.

Q: In an effort to save money, I'm buying a typodont used by a fellow student during their clinical examination. Can I use the same typodont for my clinical examination?

A:  WREB does not have any restrictions regarding previously used typodonts. However, you are encouraged to carefully check the gingiva for lacerations or tears, and the teeth and preps for scarring. Be sure to replace any damaged gingiva or teeth prior to the examination to avoid incurring any trauma penalties at Check-Out grading. See Typodont Criteria in the WREB Restorative Candidate Guide.

Q: Our clinic is currently using a bonding adhesive/primer so that the instruments do not stick to the composite material. Is it acceptable to use a bond/primer adhesive when placing composites?

A:  Bonding adhesive/primer may be used for placement of the composite material during the Restorative Exam but must not cover the surface of the finished restoration.

Q: Can I leave the clinic if I finish before the one and a half hour deadline?

A:  Yes, but you will not be allowed to re-enter until cleanup time is announced.

Q: What can I do to improve my chances for success of the Restorative exam?

A:  Know the dental anatomy of the teeth you are submitting; practice your restorations on a typodont. Read and re-read the WREB Restorative Candidate Guide as accurate interpretation of the prescribed criteria is your responsibility.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements and procedures for an on-site Restorative Clinical exam retake?

A:  Please see the Retake Examination Onsite section of the WREB Restorative Candidate Guide for more information.

Q: What are the payment options for an on-site Restorative Clinical exam retake?

A:  Eligible candidates may pay $440 for the onsite retake of their Hygiene Clinical examination with a credit or debit card displaying the Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express logo. WREB also accepts cashier’s checks or money orders for onsite retakes as well.

Q: If I fail the Restorative Clinical exam, how soon will I be able to re-test? Is there a waiting period?

A:  Candidates who have multiple unsuccessful attempts of the Restorative exam should refer to the Remediation Policy & Forms section of the WREB Website for more information.

ADVICE FROM PREVIOUS CANDIDATES who have taken the Restorative Exam
  • Candidate Guide:  Read and re-read the Candidate Guide; know the grading criteria.
  • Education:  Take an extended restorative course, if necessary.
  • Skills:  Practice carvings and also having to remove a carving.
  • Preparedness:  Know what to do if your marginal ridge breaks.
  • Familiarize:  Attend the Clinic Tour to familiarize yourself with the clinic layout, equipment, etc.
  • Equipment:  Bring your own triturator; it makes a difference.
  • Typodont Storage:  Remember to bring a box or container for your typodont.

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