Dental amalgam is a liquid mercury and metal alloy mixture used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. Low-copper amalgam commonly consists of mercury (50%), silver (~22–32% ), tin (~14%), copper (~8%) and other trace metals. Dental amalgams were first documented in a Tang Dynasty medical text written by Su Kung in 659, and appeared in Germany in 1528. In the 1800s, amalgam became the dental restorative material of choice due to its low cost, ease of application, strength, and durability.
Recently[when?] however, concern for aesthetics, environmental pollution, health, and the availability of improved, reliable, composite materials diminished its popularity. In particular, concerns about the toxicity of mercuryhave made its use increasingly controversial.