Most of you reading this probably have no idea how the BDA represents you, or how we work tirelessly on your behalf to improve your working life, pay, conditions, training, etc.
You may not also know that we are the only organsiation that believes in upholding dentistry as a valued healthcare profession in the UK, alongside valuing the worth of dentists themselves.
It may be that you do know about the roles of the BDA but that, in light of work and other concerns and pressures you don't know how we look after your interests. It could even be the case that you are happy to go about your day to day life, doing what you do best, great dentistry, leaving others to steer the ship.
But I hope that some of you will care, and that you will consider stepping up and nominating yourself to take part as one of our small army of dentists that sit on our committees, country councils and our executive board, and who contribute their skills, knowledge and most importantly, their voice.
They make a difference. They give up their time to fight for what they believe in, not just for themselves, but for the future of the profession. General dentists, young dentist, practice owners, associates, community dentists, hospital dentists, consultants in dental public health, clinical leads, dental academics, army dentists, private dentists, and dentists working in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Committees: aren't they a bit dull?
Your idea of being on a committee might seem dull. It's just sitting in a meeting room, sifting through a stack full of papers, and being quarrelsome, right?
Well, I'd say that's not entirely the case anymore. There is some sitting in a meeting room, yes, but these days we do use electronic channels to send out communications; agendas, minutes, papers are send out via email and can be read on the go, meetings can be quite dynamic.
Yes, discussions are sometimes animated, but people are passionate, and others' are willing to listen to different viewpoints, they enjoy it and they get something out of it.
They learn how to negotiate. They make new colleagues and friends, some even find career avenues open for them that they didn't know existed.
They grow and develop personally, and if they have the ambition, some have even gone on to become quite powerful people in the dental politics in the UK.
Where are all the associates?
We find we have a problem with getting our younger dentists to take part.
We know that life can be challenging for young dentists today. There are issues surrounding pay and career progressing, the spiraling costs of indemnity and GDC fees, the difficulty of finding a career that is flexible, yet gives you progression, and that allows a good work-life balance.
We care about these things too, but we can't fight for positive changes to these issues, unless you help us. You have to join in, your voice needs to be heard.
Is it about us, or you?
We want to ensure our representative structures are actually that, representative of gender, ethnicity, age, field of practice, cultural backgrounds, of dentists practicing today.
In spite of the fact that there are now a greater number of female dentists working amongst the under 44 year olds across the UK, our representative structures are under-represented by women.
We need more women to help ensure we are truly representative of your working lives. We need to hear from you.
As dentists you are all unique. But if you don't help us, then we can't help you. We can only help you make your career path better, if you get engaged.
And it's not just about paying the annual subscription fee, it's about telling us what your fears and hopes are, expressing your frustrations, showing us how you think it can be better, taking part.
Find your voice: nominate yourself for a seat now.