For Dr. Jason Tanoory, the transition from solo practitioner to group practice owner has been a successful one by any measure, but he’ll be the first to share that it didn’t happen overnight. Here’s how Dr. Tanoory moved from aspiring dental student to the owner of Finger Lakes Dental Care, a seven-practice enterprise.
From Clinician to CEO
Dr. Tanoory’s journey into dentistry began at the University of Dayton, where a chance encounter with a dentist sparked his interest. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he ventured into the Finger Lakes area and founded his own practice, building it from scratch. This solo practice ran successfully for more than a decade before Dr. Tanoory felt the itch to shake off the complacency he felt and expand into group dentistry.
Creating Career Opportunities for Dentists
One of the values driving Dr. Tanoory’s expansion efforts was the opportunity to help more patients and importantly, more team members. He is all too familiar with the challenges faced by dentists who, early in their career, are burdened by massive student loan debt (the average debt load today is more than $285,000). He is also familiar with how this debt can hamper personal and professional goals, including starting a family or making significant purchases. By expanding his practice beyond one location, Dr. Tanoory knew he would have more opportunities to create new pathways for the next generation of dental associates.
Defining Success Through Quality Over Quantity
With this vision in mind, Dr. Tanoory’s growth strategy for Finger Lakes Dental Care centered around the de novo approach rather than aggressive acquisition. This allowed him to focus on quality (maximizing revenue and EBITA) over amassing higher quantities of locations. This approach also gave him the time and flexibility to staff his group practice with intention—including how he engages new associates at any location.
Strong Equity Models Support Long-Term Associate Excellence
Recognizing the changing landscape for younger dentists and the financial burdens many have upon graduating, Dr. Tanoory uses the Restricted Stock Unit (RSU) model for associate equity. This model, which has been proven to be a successful strategy for attracting and retaining top talent, allows associates to become minority partners without the burden of significant upfront costs and leadership responsibilities.
Dr. Tanoory bolsters this model with processes that advance doctor development. All associates go through a structured onboarding process which provides clarity and sets expectations over the first 90 days. Regular check-ins, meetings, and one-on-ones contribute to ongoing associate alignment with the practice’s culture, values, and clinical systems.
The cumulative advantages derived from a win-win equity model and supportive systems have helped maximize commitment and productivity across the Finger Lakes Dental Care enterprise. While Dr. Tanoory credits these standards with encouraging clinical excellence, he also advises that other group owners should continue to prioritize vetting and selecting associates that already embody the values and motivation desired by the practice.
Advice for Aspirational Group Practice Owners
Dr. Tanoory recognizes that going from the chair to managing a multi-location practice is no small feat. Looking back on his own career, Dr. Tanoory shares that intentionality in his approach to everything from his day-to-day schedule to associate interactions and growth strategy has been a big part of his success. His advice for fellow practitioners: Stay intentional, be clear in expectations, and focus on team development to create an environment where both patients and team members can thrive.
Want more? Listen to the podcast interview between Dr. Tanoory and Polaris Healthcare Partners co-founder Perrin DesPortes here.