Objective. The aim of this paper was to determine the use of theatre time for all procedures performed under general anaesthetic on a paediatric dental list. Methods. A prospective study of paediatric dental general anaesthetic procedures was undertaken at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, NHS Tayside, Dundee, UK. Data were collected prospectively for 71 operating lists over a 3-year period from April 2003 to March 2006. Both operator status and the procedure being undertaken were recorded. In addition, pre-anaesthetic, anaesthetic, operating and disconnection times were recorded. Results. Of the 71 lists examined, 61 either finished early or on time, with a median unused time of 32.50 min (interquartile range = 19.50, 50.00 min), whilst 10 lists finished late with a median overrun time of 30.50 min (interquartile range = 9.25, 45.50 min). Comparing lists which finished late with those which were completed within time, the median preanaesthetic time was significantly longer (Mann-Whitney U-test, W = 20.05, P = 0.048). Overall, the theatre was in use for 78.22% of time combining preanaesthetic, anaesthetic, operating and disconnection times; hence, there was poor time utilization of theatre for 21.78% of the total theatre time. Conclusions. Overall, 85.9% of theatre sessions for dental procedures under general anaesthetic in children finished early or on time. Where lists finished late, the duration of the pre-anaesthetic time appeared to be the significant factor.