The radiation tolerance of a directly converting digital intra-oral X-ray imaging sensor reported in Spartiotis et al. [Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 501 (2003) 594] has been tested using a typical dental X-ray beam spectrum. Radiation induced degradation in the performance of the sensor which consists of CMOS signal readout circuits bump bonded to a high resistivity silicon pixel detector was observed already before a dose (in air) of I krad. Both increase in the leakage current of the pixel detector manufactured by Sintef, Norway and signal leakage to ground from the gate of the pixel input MOSFETs of the readout circuit were observed and measured. The sensitive part of the CMOS circuit was identified as the protection diode of the gate of the input MOSFET. After removing the gate protection diode no signal leakage was observed up to a dose of 5 krad (air) which approximately corresponds to 125.000 typical dental X-ray exposures. The radiation hardness of the silicon pixel detector was improved by using a modified oxidation process supplied by Colibrys, Switzerland. The improved pixel detectors showed no increase in the leakage current at dental doses. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V.