The application of the newly developed flat panel x-ray imaging detector in cone beam volume CT has attracted increasing interest recently. Due to an imperfect solid state array manufacturing process, however, defective elements, gain non-uniformity and offset image unavoidably exist in all kinds of flat panel x-ray imaging detectors, which will cause severe streak and ring artifacts in a cone beam reconstruction image and severely degrade image quality. A calibration technique, in which the artifacts resulting from the defective elements, gain non-uniformity and offset image can be reduced significantly, is presented in this paper. The detection of defective elements is distinctively based upon two-dimensional (2D) wavelet analysis. Because of its inherent localizability in recognizing singularities or discontinuities, wavelet analysis possesses the capability of detecting defective elements over a rather large x-ray exposure range, e.g., 20% to approximately 60% of the dynamic range of the detector used. Three-dimensional (3D) images of a low-contrast CT phantom have been reconstructed from projection images acquired by a flat panel x-ray imaging detector with and without calibration process applied. The artifacts caused individually by defective elements, gain non-uniformity and offset image have been separated and investigated in detail, and the correlation with each other have also been exposed explicitly. The investigation is enforced by quantitative analysis of the signal to noise ratio (SNR) and the image uniformity of the cone beam reconstruction image. It has been demonstrated that the ring and streak artifacts resulting from the imperfect performance of a flat panel x-ray imaging detector can be reduced dramatically, and then the image qualities of a cone beam reconstruction image, such as contrast resolution and image uniformity are improved significantly. Furthermore, with little modification, the calibration technique presented here is also applicable to the flat panel x-ray imaging detector in digital radiography (DR), fluoroscopy (DF) and mammography.