Hi again, Stay,
No, that's not a dumb question at all.
As long as there are no problems, the hardware can stay in forever. Some people have it out due to pain or loose screws.
I have most of my hardware and don't expect to have it out. I did have to have one hook and part of a rod taken out because they were protruding through my back. It hadn't broken through the skin, but it was very painful to lean back on it.
Many people never have it out.