Unless it's a hardware problem, (physically damaged, replace drive), then it sounds like a driver issue. Over time drivers (the software that runs the hardware) can be corrupted, get into a compatability conflict with new programs, or lost by the system. You obviously can't reinstall the drivers from your recovery discs, but you can (usually) download them from your manufacturer's website.
In your Start menu's search, type Device Manager. Open DM and expand the + next to DVD/CD-ROM drives.
If your drive is not listed in there, then it's not installed, download it's software from your manufacturer's website.
If your drive is listed but has a
next to it, then there's a driver problem. Double click the drive and note what it says under "Device Status" on the General tab. Go to the Driver tab and click "Update Driver..." Choose "Search automatically for updated driver software" and Windows will search both your computer and the internet for the proper drivers for your device.
Even if your drive is listed and it's status is "device is working properly" you may still need to reinstall the drivers. Often there can be a driver conflict that your computer is not aware of to report back. In any case, before replacing the drive you'll definately want to try fixing the drivers.
Hope this helps