EDMONTON -- Dentists in Alberta have been ordered to suspend all non-emergency services by the province's dental association due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In an urgent message released Tuesday, the Alberta Dental Association & College (ADAC) said the decision was effective immediately.

The ADAC said dentists can continue to provide emergency services, such as treating oral-facial trauma, significant infection, bleeding or pain that can't be managed by over-the-counter medication.

"At a minimum, you must provide telephone access to address patients' continuity of care," the ADAC said to dentists in the statement.

The ADAC strongly encouraged dentists still performing emergency services to pre-screen patients over the phone to assess the risk to the patient, the dental staff and the public.

"Dentists in Alberta have a duty to prevent exposure to an infection from COVID-19. If risks are identified that cannot be immediately or succinctly mitigated, the determined care must be postponed or referred to an appropriate provider," the statement said.

The association said it was working on a list of facilities that are remaining open to treat emergency patients.

Alberta confirmed 18 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 74.