Introduction: Extraction of decayed teeth is the most common reason for UK children aged 5-9 years to receive a general anaesthetic. Inequalities in oral health are well recognised, but is under-explored in dental general anaesthesia (DGA).Methods Secondary analysis of routinely collected data from three local authorities in South West England was used to assess: 1) dental activities recorded for children <18 years attending NHS general dental practitioners (GDP); 2) the incidence rate of DGA and disease severity among <16-year-olds; and 3) individual and neighbourhood factors associated with higher rates of child DGA, and greater severity of disease.Results Among 208,533 GDP appointments, rates of preventive action were low where 1/7 included fluoride varnish but 1/5 included permanent fillings. The incidence rate of DGA was 6.6 admissions for every 1,000 children, rising to 12.4/1,000 among 5-9-year-olds. A total of 86 (7.6%) children had previously received a DGA at the same hospital. Area deprivation was strongly associated with higher rates of DGA, but rates of DGA remained high in less deprived areas. No associations were observed between number of teeth removed and socio-economic status.Conclusion Too many children are receiving DGA, and too few preventive actions are recorded by GDPs. Area-based inequalities in DGA were apparent, but wealthy areas also experienced substantial childhood dental decay.